‘It’s OK for kids to feel sad’: Experts encourage parents to talk to kids about missing graduation, spring events because of coronavirus

MADISON, Wis. — As graduation dates come and go without formal ceremonies, school districts and communities across the country are trying to come up with creative ways to honor their graduates.

Still, many students feel like they missed out on important moments in their lives.

SSM Health Family Physician Dr. Laura Mendyk said it’s important to recognize big milestones, whether it’s a 4K, eighth grade or high school graduation.

She said graduation celebrations are self-motivating, and they push students to continue schooling.

“Their sense of disappointment is very real. And they missed out on things that they were planning, whether it’s senior proms this spring or spring breaks or spring sports seasons, spring musicals, spring plays. All of these things were a bunch of slow disappointments,” said Dr. Mendyk. “It’s ok for kids to feel sad and remorseful.”

She said parents should recognize that mixed emotions may be surfacing, and encourage kids to talk about it.

She suggests everyone make an effort to congratulate local graduates, even if they don’t know them well. All the ‘thank yous’ will inspire the class of 2020 to keep working hard as they move forward.