Powered by Mom talks about tips to help our teens transition to high school
Do you have a teen for whom this year is their first year in high school? Welcome to the club, my daughter is about to start high school next week! We’re a couple of weeks later for starting school this year due to a province wide teacher’s strike here in BC. This has however given me the opportunity to really think about how I can help my teen transition into high school successfully. I’ve given this a lot of thought, I talked to other parents whose children have already gone through high school, are in high school already, dug deep into my own experiences and what my parents did and did not do.
I also realized that besides my parenting skills and I had some professional skills and experience from which I could draw some practical experience to put to good use to help my daughter transition. After all for over 10 years I helped recently graduated students transition into university. I was the one who organized the orientation events, organized campus tours, gave advice on how to prepare and more. There are many similarities between going from elementary to secondary school and from there to university so that means there are many tips that can be applied to both transitions.
I want to be able to support my daughter for her success and to get her high school years off to the best start possible.
Here’s my favourite tips to help our teens transition to high school
1. Have a plan
When I say this it means figure out how you can help your child learn the ropes at their school. Find out when there are orientation days, is their a buddy or mentor system where they pair a grade 8 student with an older student, Get them their locks in advance so they remember the combination an find out their schedule, give them a chance to know the physical layout of the school in advance if possible. I had arranged with my daughter’s high school counsellor for a tour of the school before grade 8 started. My daughter needs the extra time to orient her herself so a personalized tour in addition to a tour with a group of students was beneficial to her.
Whether your teen is taking the bus or being dropped off and picked up physically walk them through the routes, where the bus stops are, have them take that bus with you. Or if your like us and are dropping off and picking up your child, do a test run. Seeing and doing helps more than just telling them how to do it.
2. Let them know they don’t have to figure it all out in one day
Remind them that it’s okay if they don’t figure it all out right away as it takes time to learn the ropes. Encourage them to ask questions if they don’t understand something, even if they have to ask the question more than once, it’s all good
3. Making new friends
If they are worried about making new friends suggest that they check out school clubs that interest them. Joining a couple where the other kids have similar interests is a good way to make new friends. Also they can introduce their friends to any new friends and if everyone reciprocates sometimes they’ve made more new friends then they’ve realized
4. Take time to adjust to the curriculum
Students are sometimes blind sided by the higher academic standards of high school. Remind them to breathe and to take the time to adjust to it. This doesn’t mean to slack off but rather if necessary spend a bit more time learning the curriculum, get peer tutoring or extra help of some kind if needed. For our daughter who struggles to concentrate we explored the option of what her school calls a learning block. We did this while she was still in grade 7 as we know where she struggles and knew she will need time to adjust to a new curriuclum and school. See what your school has to offer and what would be suited to your teen.
5 Ask for help
Remind and encourage your teen that they need to know when to ask for help. Whether that help is in the form of academic tutoring or they are feeling stressed out, low self esteem, let them know asking for help is a good thing always.
6. Pay attention and listen Parents this is for you
Yes this one is for us parents! We need to listen to our children and take any concerns or fears they might have seriously. We should never dismiss them as each person experiences things differently and copes with them differently. Our goal should be to make sure they know we are really listening and here to help them when they need us, and sometimes when they don’t know they need us yet. We need to notice if they’re getting enough sleep, do they seem overly stressed out and/or don’t seem like themselves.
7. Let them know you love them unconditionally
This is not really a tip but a reminder as I know the parents who care we love them unconditionally already but sometimes we have to remind them of that so that they don’t feel alone. Be there when they need you, drop them off around the corner when they ask and just always communicate without judgement and support them always.
I know there are a lot more tips out there but those are my top seven tips. I would love to hear your tips so please feel free to share them below by commenting and let’s support each other so we can support our kids.
This is not a compensated post of any kind. Just a parent sharing her tips with other parents and hoping we can all support each other 🙂