Helping Your Child Navigate the High School Years

High school is a new milestone for our children, and it’s something that they will need to be supported in as they navigate a new chapter of their life. A lot of changes are happening for our teenagers during this time – they are taking new classes, new faces, a new culture surround them, and overall, they will be undertaking new challenges. To encourage our teenagers to make smart decisions as they move through high school, the following suggestions may help with the transition.

  1. Go back to establishing a new routine. Though they may already have a routine set, we know that high school will be more rigorous and will require students to reshuffle priorities and time management. Work with your child on creating new routines to accommodate the demands that they will need to meet in high school.
  2. Encourage autonomy and self-advocacy. In high school, teachers will be less lenient on things such as behavior, deadlines, timeliness, etc. As you build a routine with your teenager, be sure to continually remind your teen to take ownership of his/her day, time, and responsibilities. Also, make sure he/she is asking questions and self-advocating when it is appropriate. It’s better for your teenager to ask rather than assume.
  3. Encourage involvement. Whether it’s clubs, sports, or other extracurricular activities, your teenager will need to feel a sense of belonging in a new place with new faces. Having a sense of belonging helps students persist in school, and being active and involved also improves their college applications.
  4. Begin the college process early. High school is the last stop before college applications roll in, so starting this process first with college visits, practicing personal statements, seeking out scholarships, etc. will only make things run smoothly later on in his/her high school years.
  5. Revisit life skills. These life skills (such as cooking your meals, maintaining a clean living space, staying healthy) will come into play when your teenager eventually transitions to higher education, and by revisiting these life skills, your teenager will be able to manage the change a bit easier. Teaching your teenager the necessary foundation and how to be flexible with these skills will give your teenager an advantage.

These are a few suggestions that can make the transition easier on all parties involved in a teenager’s move into high school. Each students’ needs are different, and it’s essential to monitor your teenager as he/she takes on high school. Depending on their needs, these suggestions can be modified to accommodate your teenager and how he/she is adapting to the changes that being in high school brings.

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