Going from Middle School to High School is a huge emotional step for kids (and for parents–get those Kleenex out again!) Most teens are apprehensive about going, but too cool to let you know. They may be worried about forming friendships, fitting in, getting good grades, getting lost, dealing with peer pressure and dating, just to name a few. Here are a few ideas to help them feel more comfortable about high school.
Right now, before school begins, start turning your night owl child into one who goes to bed a little earlier and gets up before noon. This will help them avoid going into shock on the first day. If your kids are texting late at night while they are supposed to be sleeping, have them leave their cell phones in the kitchen, plugged into a charger, before they go to bed.
Even though they hope you don’t know, teens need their parents now more than ever. Find out how to best contact the school and the individual teachers to get help, if needed. Many schools now use technology like PowerSchool to provide parents with daily or weekly updates on their student’s progress with homework and tests. Get on these systems right away so that you can head off any problems before they become larger issues. Let your kids know you are talking with their teachers so it doesn’t feel like you are going behind their back and spying on them. Make sure they know it is because you want to stay involved.
Stay close but not too close.
Ask your teen about their day, but don’t interrogate them. If they tell you a problem, don’t automatically try to solve it for them. Expect that especially during the first few weeks of school, they may come home and need time to just “chill out.” Try to chat with them in the car on the way to activities or at dinner instead of grilling them as they come in the door.
Teach Them to Handle Independence.
Your kids may have a lot more independence in High School than in Middle School. However, that doesn’t mean you stop parenting. Talk with your kids frequently about meeting deadlines, avoid procrastinating (do as Mom says, not as she does), and prioritizing their work and fun. These are life skills they will need for the rest of their lives. Encourage them to try new activities and join clubs but learn when enough is enough.
Any other advice you’d like to share?
We hope this series of tips help you and your kids get through the crazy transition of starting a new school and meeting new milestones.