Moving from middle school to high school is a big change in a child's life - and the parents' lives too, for that matter! While teens are worrying about fitting in in their new environment, parents are grappling with their kids growing up. However, high school is an exciting and formative time, and there are many ways to help make it a smooth transition.
Here are some ways you can prepare your teen for high school:
Get the lay of the land
One common worry of teens entering high school is they don't know where to go - learning a bunch of new hallways and classrooms can be daunting. If there's a map of the high school's layout available, review it with your teen. If possible, you could also visit the school during the summer and walk around together. This can help them get a lay of the land ahead of time so they can feel more confident on their first day. Remind them too that if they don't know where a classroom is, they shouldn't be afraid to ask! And assure them that with a little time, they'll have it all figured out.
Help them with organization
A major difference between middle school and high school is the increase in the workload. Classes will be more intensive and will require students to keep track of a higher volume of materials. Organization is key to staying ahead, so offer to help your teen develop a good organizational system now. When shopping for school supplies, buy folders, notebooks and/or binders they can use to keep track of their work at school, and purchase file holders and other items that can corral papers and textbooks at home as well. As Canadian Family mentioned, most schools give free day planners to their students, but if your teen's school doesn't, be sure to buy one for him and show him how to use it.
Share helpful time management tips with your teens, too, such as eliminating distractions and blocking out periods for homework around other activities.
Support them to reach out
Another major concern of kids entering high school is that they won't fit in socially. They may fear going from being a big fish in a small, familiar pond to a small fish in a much bigger and unknown pond. Encourage your teen to be herself and teach her the signs of peer pressure. You can also highlight the value of joining clubs or sports teams or volunteering for school organizations - by following her interests, she'll meet other like-minded students and can build friendships.
"Highlight the value of joining clubs or sports teams or volunteering for school organizations."
Create an environment for success
While you can't control your teen's high school experience, you can do your best to create a home environment that can help set him up for success. A big part of this is helping him have a good start to his day. Buy healthy foods that you or your teen can make nutritious breakfasts with, as KidsHealth advised. This can help him get the energy needed to stay focused throughout the school day. You can also reduce the early morning rush by arranging backpacks, lunch bags or money, sports gear and other items by the door so they're ready to grab, if that would be helpful. At night, encourage your teen to go to bed early and get a good night's sleep.
Be there for them
Perhaps the most important, way, however, to prepare your teen for high school is to let her know that you're always there for her and and support her. Tell her that you're happy to talk with her about whatever's on her mind.
"If they have a strong parental base, teens in the 'big school' can feel confident and happy as they walk down the halls," said retired teacher Joan Dyson in an interview with Canadian Family.
With these tips, you can help your teen have a smooth transition to high school.