12 Pieces of Graduation Advice to Guide Kids Through It All

Sometimes the last thing your kids want is yet another piece of advice from you. But sometimes, you just need to give it anyway.

In particular, when our little ones transition from one stage of schooling to another, it’s important that we, as parents, give our two cents. After all, we’ve been through it ourselves!

Here are 12 pieces of graduation advice to give to your kids — big and small — to help them learn what you already know. And maybe to save a few tears and even allow for a few extra smiles.

  • Graduation Advice Guide 1 of 16

    From preschool to high school — 12 nuggets for your kids, big and small.

  • Advice for the Littlest Kids 2 of 16
  • Keep Picking Your Nose 3 of 16

    Just do it with a tissue.


    Also — remember to pull your pants up before you come out of the bathroom. And don't pull them down until you've closed the door.


    It's the little things that are easiest to do that can also be the hardest to remember — yet the hardest for others to forget, too.

  • Always Pee Before Recess 4 of 16

    Whether you need to go or not — always pee when given the opportunity.


    Recess is fun, unless you have to go to the bathroom. Otherwise you just spend the whole time holding it in and risking an accident, which is no fun. Even more not fun? Having an accident. In front of everyone.


    No one has ever regretted peeing on the potty. Everyone regrets peeing in their pants.


  • Don’t Squeal If It’s Not a Big Deal 5 of 16

    If someone is hurting you, and telling them to stop or walking away doesn't remedy the situation, by all means, tell the teacher.


    Short of that, always think before you tell on someone. Is it really a big deal? Is what's happening really so important and bad that you need to rat out a friend or even an enemy? Try ignoring it or working it out on your own. That's what a lot of bigger kids do.


    Seeing someone else get in trouble might seem like justice at the time, but in the end, it usually means everybody loses.

  • Remember: Mommy (and Daddy) Always Comes Back 6 of 16

    Everybody has hard, bad days. Not every day is going to be your best.


    However, whether things just aren't working out for you or you're just not acting in a way that's pleasing anyone, your mom and dad are still going to be there to tuck you in at night. They still love you, even if you did get in trouble at school.


    (No need to test them tomorrow, by the way. They'll still love if you get in trouble again, but they'd really prefer if you at least try to have a better day.)

  • Advice for Kids a Bit Older 7 of 16
  • Keep Doing What You Like. Over and Over. 8 of 16

    Peter Doctera animated and directed films including Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., and Up. He learned from experience that doing what he liked — and doing it a lot — was ultimately more important than being good at something but not practicing it very much.


    "Passion and hard work beats out natural talent," he said.

  • The Only Thing More Memorable Than a Nice Kid is a Mean Kid 9 of 16

    Ask any grown-up you know, and they'll tell you the story of a kid who was really nice to them when they were younger.


    Then ask them if anyone was ever mean to them, and you'll hear more than a few very detailed stories of how their feelings were so badly hurt they'll never quite shake it.


    How would you prefer people think of you?

  • Being Popular Isn’t the Most Important Thing. For Real. 10 of 16

    It may not feel like it right now — but being popular doesn't trump everything else. It really, really doesn't.


    Having everyone like you isn't the prize it might appear to be. A lot of times popular kids have to do icky things in order to gain their status as a cool kid.


    If being kind, working hard and just being yourself was all it took to be popular, that would be one thing. But more often than not, it isn't. The happiest people don't always have the most friends, but the ones they have are usually worth the effort.


  • Remember: Nothing Lasts Forever 11 of 16

    It's hard to keep in mind when you're down and out, heartbroken, failing and utterly miserable that this God-awful feeling won't last until your dying day. But it won't. Seriously.


    Everyone flunks a test, gets dumped by a friend or a date, is picked on, gets embarrassed or feels lonely.


    None of those things last. They will go away. You will be happy/successful/find love again. You really, really will. Promise.

  • Advice for the Big Kids 12 of 16
  • Do it Now. Nothing is Ever Easier in the Morning. 13 of 16

    Whether it's your homework, making lunch or picking out clothes, everything is easier when it's not done at the last minute.


    No matter how much time you think you have in the morning before school, it'll never be enough. Something will always come up — whether it's a few extra presses of the snooze button on your alarm, to running out of hot water in the shower, to the Internet being down — so  you should really get it done the day before. You can always go back and redo something, but not even starting it until the clock is ticking will only add to the stress of your day before it has barely begun.


    Being prepared and organized is, if not half the battle, a really, really important part of the battle

  • Save Your Drama for the School Play 14 of 16

    Televised soap operas have nothing on the dramatics that unfold in the hallways of a high school. Judging others, holding grudges and getting into fights are what some teens do best.


    But whether the conflict is something you're in the middle of or just looking at from the outside in, find a way remove yourself from the situation. Quickly. You'll seldom regret staying out of a fight but you'll almost always regret getting into one.


    Save the theatrics for your school's production of Shakespeare's The Tempest.

  • Know that Sex, Drugs and Alcohol are a Very. Big. Deal. 15 of 16

    Everyone doing something is a compelling reason to join in, for sure. But there are far more compelling reasons not to.


    Sex and drugs are often fun, but they're rarely worth the momentary fun when done at a young age.


    Of all the things to do because everyone else is doing them, try not to choose the ones that can affect you negatively and have consequences that last far longer than the good feeling that will end in moments or hours.


  • Remember: Kindness and Respect Trump Everything Else 16 of 16

    It happens: Some kids and teachers may not like you.


    Here's the thing: It doesn't matter. You still need to be the person who treats everyone kindly and with respect, no matter what they've done to you. No. Matter. What. You don't have to enjoy everyone's company to act in a dignified manner.


    Everyone brings something to the table. Learn from the behavior of others — good or bad — and kill them with kindness. You might not be thrilled about it now, but eventually you'll be glad you did.

Photo credits: iStockphoto

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Follow Meredith on Twitter and check out her regular column on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post at

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