While high school is an exciting and pivotal moment, the transition can be a stressful time in your teen’s life. The transition from middle school to high school can be frightening for both students and parents alike. There are several steps you can take to help your teen transition to high school smoothly. Preparation, organization, and communication are the keys to success.
1. Become familiar with the school and staff ahead of time.
Familiarizing your teen with his or her high school will decrease first-day jitters. Schedule a walk-through so that your child can meet teachers and navigate the school. Help your child find his or her locker and locate each classroom in chronological order. If the high school provides an orientation or open house, be sure to attend those as well. These simple steps will reduce stress and uncertainty for the first day of high school.
2. Encourage involvement in the new school.
Student involvement is vital to high school success. Whether it is a sport, musical group, club, or an art class, encourage your teen to participate in activities that he or she is interested in. This is a great way for your child to meet new friends, further develop creative and social skills, and foster existing passions or develop new ones. Engaging with peers during the high school transition can reduce feelings of insecurity or vulnerability. Social acceptance and well roundedness are important not only for your teen’s academic success but also for his or her personal development.
Parent involvement is just as important as teen involvement; stay active in your child’s educational career. Your type of involvement in your teen’s schooling may change, but your level of involvement should not. Over the summer, you and your teen should work with the school counselor to develop an academic plan to understand what the next four years will look like. Review class selections to ensure that they align with your child’s goals because these courses will prepare him or her for college. Most PTOs allow varying degrees of PTO involvement and that is a simple but effective way of knowing the events in high school outside of academics.
3. Keep your teen focused and balanced.
While high school presents new activities and freedoms, this transition also includes more academic responsibilities. Remind your teen that his or her primary job is to study hard and earn high grades to prepare for a collegiate career. If extracurricular activities begin to interfere with schoolwork, you and your teen may need to re-evaluate his or her commitments. On the other side, help your child balance academics without an overload of advanced placement or honors classes. Let peer pressure not be the guiding source. Keep your teen on a structured homework schedule to ensure all homework is completed and done so in a timely manner. Your teen may need assistance with time management to adjust to the increased workload, and establishing a routine can greatly help.
4. Know when your teen needs extra help.
The amount of homework and the level of difficulty will naturally increase during your teen’s transition to high school. Monitor your teen’s stress levels, ability to manage homework, and grades. If you feel like your teen is struggling more than what you expected, have a conversation with your teen. Do not hesitate to reach out for support – explore the options available at the school. Check to see if your teen can stay afterschool for additional help, or, if necessary, consider enriched learning or a tutoring service. If your teen is struggling academically, it is crucial to identify issues early on so that they can be corrected as soon as possible.
5. Be the best support system for your teen.
Make yourself available for your teen, especially during the first few weeks at his or her new school. Taking the time to sit down and listen to his or her concerns and stresses can make all of the difference in the world. Help your teen understand that while change can be scary, it is vital to his or her growth and often produces many positives.
Parents, what concerns do you have about your teen’s transition to high school? If you already have a teen in high school, what tips do you have for other parents?
Author: Ashley Moore, Editor at MathWizard, Inc.