10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for High School

Eighth grade is an incredible time of late adolescent development reinforced by deep curiosity, learning to think critically, and progress toward becoming a full-fledged adult. Except, there is one more item on the agenda first: high school. And with high school, of course, comes a whole new agenda.

Don’t know how you can help prepare your child for high school and the upcoming transition? Las Vegas Day School is here to help, every step of the way. Here are 10 ideas:

1. Establish a Healthy Study Routine

A healthy study routine is more than just a place and time for your child to study. It should also be distraction-free, well-organized, and involve regular study breaks. Studies suggest that studying for 20 minutes, then taking a five-minute break works very well for most students.

Organization can involve everything from having your child write down their goals for the day and helping them break tasks down into smaller ones to having a study buddy in each class to maximize their involvement.

2. Encourage Social Interaction

It’s important for your student to feel confident as they move through the school year, and positive social interaction helps with that. Talking about items like encouraging eye contact, asking questions, responding to emotional cues, knowing their limits and being a good role model for your child helps to foster a great sense of positive self-identity and more social interactions with their peers.

3. Discuss Goals and Expectations

Establish your expectations of your child, and talk about what they feel they can realistically achieve.

  • Be open-minded, especially if your child seems concerned about specific expectations or goals, or just expectations and goals overall.
  • Make time for your child to reflect on and discuss their own goals and expectations.
  • Move this into a discussion of what high school goals and expectations are going to look like, and how they differ from middle school.
  • Create clear and reasonable expectations with associated rewards and consequences.

4. Familiarize Yourself with the School

Many schools have days or times that parents can get to know the school early on in the school year. If your child’s school doesn’t offer this, contact them about setting up your own tour. Getting to know the lay of the land makes you a more understanding and confident parent.

5. Talk to Teachers and Other Parents

Get to know the teachers your child interacts with daily. Developing a rapport with teachers and demonstrating your efforts toward your student’s success is key to supporting your new high schooler. Research has shown that parents are more involved with their child’s education by taking the school’s ideas on helping and supporting their children.

6. Help Manage Time and Priorities

High school requires considerably more organization and prioritization skills than middle school did. You can help your student establish their time management and prioritization skills in various ways.

It is vital that you establish ways to manage time and priorities that work for your child. Some strategies are extremely effective, while others are not. A strategy that may not work for you might work well for your student. Maintain support and encouragement.

7. Instill Good Habits and Values

Put forth efforts into family time, family dinners, game nights, and the like. These aren’t times to discuss homework; rather, these are times to talk about family memories and make new ones, to watch your child grow up for a few moments here and there, and to model the importance of family. There will be times when extracurriculars or other activities may infringe on your family time, but if that is the case, reschedule that time with your family. Family time is sacred.

The point of this time is to instill not only good habits and values but to create an expectation that family will always be a priority. No two households are the same, and this expectation will look very different from one home to the next, but the emphasis should be on investing time in your family, in loving and caring for one another.

8. Encourage Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities, such as music, clubs, sports, or theater, can help teach your child specialization, effective time management, and how to pursue their passions. Some extracurricular activities may help your child land a college scholarship. These activities also give them the chance to try out something new.

It’s especially important that you support your child in these activities, not the activities themselves. If they loathe French Club after being involved in it for a few weeks, give them the opportunity to withdraw. Be patient and supportive. Few of us get everything right on the first try, and learning that trial and error is okay is crucial for students.

9. Monitor Your Child’s Progress

Many schools make it easy to track your child’s progress, offering up-to-the-minute reporting on grades, behavior issues, and activities in and outside of the classroom. Make sure you familiarize yourself with your child’s report cards. Get to know your student’s teachers, and stay in touch with them. If your child is struggling in a particular class or discipline, there is no one who will observe this more closely than their teachers.

You can also find various apps to help keep track of the constant stream of information, and plenty of supportive literature online.

10. Be Supportive of Your Child’s Efforts

We saved the best for last. If there is one item from this list worth memorizing and carrying with you everywhere you go, it’s this one. Your child depends on you. They need your validation, your support, your love, and, at times, your dissent.

This can be tricky, because you may feel like there is a lot of resentment and frustration between the two of you. High school is the most stressful time of your child’s life. Given everything they have to juggle and learn and experience, it’s no wonder they are stressed out. All of this stress often has a negative impact on you, too.

Stick to your guns anyway. Try to remember that you are here to support your child, not necessarily what you want your child to do. They’re going to make different choices and decisions than the ones you made. It’s your job to offer encouragement, support, love, and protection as they learn to navigate their new world. The key word here is “supportive”. Support your child in their efforts, and be there to catch them -without judgment- if they fall.

New High School Students

Parents of eighth-grade students, a rocky road lies ahead of you. Parenting an eighth-grader versus parenting a freshman in high school brings about its own set of transitions that belong to you alone. It is also, however, a time filled with excitement, passion, new skill development, and watching your child grow into the adult they’ll become. This is also a time of love, and of the deepening of your relationship. Frequently, this is when parents and children become friends.

The Las Vegas Day School has proudly supported thousands of parents through this transition time, and we will continue to. Contact us today!

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