10 Things to Get Your Teenager to Smile

This has been a wonderful, crummy, joyful, yet, tearful, “terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad” few weeks! 

How are your juniors and seniors feeling? Are they grumpier than normal? Are they grunting more? 

Some of my students are calling with words of joy; others are calling with sadness.  While I am celebrating with some, I am commiserating with others. I’m sending out my congratulations gifts to many, but I need to regroup with a few and help them process plan B.

For those who are “done,” they too, have a lot to process. They may be happy for themselves while likely consoling a friend or two about the news they may have heard. A lot is racing through their minds, yet often they lack the words or desire to share these thoughts with us. 

Many of them are working through the fear of the unknown. With every day passing and a new school announcement or waitlist coming out, our seniors’ anxiety rises and falls.  For our juniors, it’s the unknown of what college admissions will look like for them. Most of them don’t even know where to begin or how to get it all done. You get the picture.

Parents are also navigating the fear of the unknown. In wanting our children to be happy, some parents try to control the landscape to ensure that happiness. But it is hard to feel in control when so much of the college admissions process is not within our control. 

However, what we can control is our ability to make sure that our children know we are behind them, next to them, cheering them on, supporting them through this, and at the ready with a bowl of Rocky Road Ice Cream when the going gets tough. (Speaking of Rocky Road- did you know that a good glass of cabernet with a dish of rocky road ice cream is a creative pairing and a great reward after a long day?)

Sometimes small gestures simply remind them we are here when they are ready. 

The next few weeks and months may be hard for your juniors and seniors. So I am bringing back my ten suggestions for reminding our children how much we love them and letting them know they have our support.  Enjoy! 

  1. Get a bag of tootsie roll lollipops, wrap them up like a bouquet of flowers, and leave them on your child’s desk with a note:

 “Do you know how many licks it takes to get to the inside of Tootsie roll pop?” (I am sure this will get them to smile – or perhaps even laugh)

  1. ICE CREAM – If you suggest going out for ice cream, you may get the response, “I don’t have time.” So on your way home, pick up a pint of your child’s favorite and leave a note on the freezer, “There’s a surprise inside for you.”
  2. One morning if you know they’ll be rushing to school and you want them to sleep in a bit, let them. If you are like me and don’t sleep, you can bake them a treat, or if you don’t have time, perhaps just leave a doughnut or muffin. It’s one less thing they need to think about before starting their day (and just might prompt a “Thank you, I love you,” which would be a great start to YOUR day!).
  3. If your family avoids sweets, put out a bowl of berries but add a can of whipped cream. Berries are for breakfast, but adding whipped cream makes them a treat.
  4. Find some stress balls or fidgets (you can get them at Amazon, Lakeshore Learning, Oriental Trading, Five Below, or the like) and just leave them in a bag or a bowl on the kitchen table or wherever your child does schoolwork – no note necessary. (A note means you suggest they use them – and remember, they want to figure things out independently).
  5. Cut up some watermelon and leave it for them – because who doesn’t smile at watermelon!
  6. Make your child’s bed and put a stuffed animal on it. 
  7. PLAYDOH!  No comment needed for this one!
  8. Give them a “Get out of chores for the weekend” card –  and permission to slack off.
  9. Hug them, and hug them hard – they might not think they want it, but believe me, they do!

Got to run to the store to pack up my supplies for my own high school junior…

Good luck, and I am thinking of you! Trust me – they will get through this, and so will you – and we will be there with you and your child every step of the way.

PS:  Remember, we just joined the Amazon Affiliate program, and any items you purchase through our links will help us raise money for our Head Toward College Foundation.

Grab the Official Guide to Talking About College with Your Teenager

This guide is full of tips and the approach I believe we ALL need when it comes to talking about college as a family. Trust me, when I say I know because I’ve been right where you are, it comes straight from my experiences!