high school freshman
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7 Steps – Preparing Your Child to be a High School Freshman

So it;s time to prepare your child to become a high school freshman!! Wait, what. How did that happen? Oh believe me I know all too well how slippery time is. Wasn’t she just literally hopping on the bus for that first day of kindergarten.

Is it possible that kids can grow this fast? How on earth can my older daughter be ready for high school? Well, she isn’t quite yet. But she’s going to be with these 7 Steps to Preparing Your Child to be a High School Freshman. 

high school freshman
Okay so just yesterday you walked your son or daughter to the area school and dropped them off for their very first day of kindergarten. Then you went to work or had a coffee and tended to your other kids, or your business and went about your day. You signed a few forms and watched them walk down the street on their own shortly thereafter. Then you drove them to birthday parties and playdates and then their first dance. You took pictures and family vacations and then one morning suddenly you hear them saying “Hey Mom I am filling out my courses for high school,” and you are stupefied. How did this happen? High school? Is she ready? Are you ready?

parenting teens
Last month at a high school orientation event

Preparing Your Child to be a High School Freshman

Transitioning from junior high to high school can be daunting for many kids. In many cases it means going into a bigger school with more classes and more kids. So what can you do to prepare your child for the coming high school freshman year? Let’s talk a bit about that.

High School Freshman Prep

We all remember being a high school freshman, walking into those doors for the first day of high school. It can be a terrifying proposition. What will the classes be like? Will I make friends? It’s so big! It’s also so new and so exciting! These are all things that probably ran through most of our minds when we first started high school. We can help ease the stress of being a high school freshman on our kids by making sure they’re prepared.

preparing for high school

Visit the School

If your school will allow it – and many do – take your child to the high school they’ll be attending and take a tour. Walk the halls and get a feel for the layout of the school as well as room placement. Knowing where your child is going will help relieve some of his or her stress. At least they’ll know they won’t get lost.

Some schools now offer a day or even a weekend the year before high school entry so your child can go and see what the school has to offer. In fact we did a parent’s night at the high school our daughter is about to attend. We found out about it from our current school in grade eight. At this particular high school there is a sleepover weekend to get the kids excited. We just got back from a cruise a day or two before my daughter went to sleep in the gym of her further high school. When we picked her up from that event she was stoked about high school. They had done experiments in the science lab and get to know you exercises and she was so enthusiastic about attending that she didn’t stop talking about the new high school for several weeks after. Find out if your high school offers any of these activities.

Get the Study Habits in Order

I’m sure you’ve all been doing this for years anyway, but it never hurts to have a refresher on how to properly study. One of the most stressful parts of being a high school freshman is the transition into a learning environment where excuses don’t carry weight. That includes not studying properly. There are many guides on the market that lay out the most effective ways to study. This can give your child a big leg up when they first enter high school. Consider doing a bit of academic work disguised as fun during the summer so that September is not a massive shock. Run a family book club in summer and have everyone read the same book and discuss what they thought about it. Maybe have everyone draw a picture of a character or scene from the book. That will keep you talking and thinking and creating instead of lazing about all summer long.

Remind Them that You’re There for Them

I know. This is easier said than done when it comes to teenagers. If you can get that point across to your child, it’s a huge win, though. Try explaining to them that you went through the same trials as a high school freshman as they will. If you have one, recount a particularly embarrassing or stressful freshman experience that you had. Let them know you understand first hand what they’ll be going through. That’s a big key in getting them to open up to you about their high school freshman problems.

 

Stay Connected – Get Them a Cell Phone or iPad

The teen years are challenging in several ways. I made sure my daughter got a cell phone (one of my older ones) and a small cell plan so she can reach me any time starting in grade eight. That’s been challenging at times like these crazy teenage cell phone drama times I wrote about this year. Or this time I followed that up with a sequel post about cell phone bills. BUT it provides peace of mind for both of us. I also remind my kids they can call me anytime. Each of my girls has a gadget of some sort that she can use to contact me if ever the situation at school seems impossible to manage on their own.

A Little Swag Doesn’t Hurt

I’m no advocate for being a brand snob, but it will make your child feel so much better on their first day as a high school freshman if they walk into the school feeling stylish. Don’t go overboard. You don’t want you child to turn into one of those kids obsessed with brands. However, it’s nice for them to be decked out in some nice, trendy clothes on their first day of school. Comfort is important to my kids so I make sure they are involved in choosing clothing that is soft enough and not too tight etc. One of the schools gave my daughter a small carryall bag and a beanie hat with their logo on it. These are small branded items but they helped her to feel part of the school before she even got there.

high school orientation
Dancing on stage at the end of the orientation event

Remind Your Child To Find at Least One Safe Adult They Trust

My kids need to feel safe wherever they are and sometimes that is really challenging so we attempt to connect with someone in an adult role early on. As luck would have it this year a former neighbour of mine went to school with a teacher at my daughter’s prospective new high school. We bumped into her and talked to her about Payton starting high school when we were skiing in March. So there’s at least one person already who she knows and could find at the new high school if ever she needs help.

Attend any August Transition Events Like High School Here I Come

Our school board does something called high school here I come. Although in August school might be the last thing you want to think about, it makes sense to do this to help ease the transition. The school board here in my city offers a one week entry program in August where enrolled grade nines entering the school can come for several days to a week to find out where their locker is, who their friends are close by and where the rooms are located. It all helps.

freshman_year

Surviving Being a High School Freshman

Your child can do it with your help. There’s nothing that will take away all the stress of being a high school freshman, but if you approach it the right way, you can reduce the strain. Being a high school freshman should be fun, not stressful. If your child struggles at all with transitions, or needs extra support feeling safe then follow some of these tips and they should help.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.

29 Comments

  • Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    These are all awesome tips. My oldest is going into middle school next year and some of these apply to him, too!

  • Tessa Smith

    My daughter is going in to preschool next year but I know this time will come soon enough. I will have to save these steps so I am prepared when the time comes. Good luck to your daughter next year!

  • Brandi

    Great tips!! Although we’re a ways off from high school with the kids, I know that it will be here before we know it – in the blink of an eye. I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind for when that day comes 🙂

  • Bonnie Way

    These are great tips! As a homeschool student, I didn’t have a huge transition from middle school to high school but I’ve seen some of my friends’ kids go through this. Sounds like your daughter will be well prepared! Congrats to her on this big milestone. 🙂

  • Aimee Geroux

    I am bookmarking this as Abby will be in grade 8 in September so we are fast approaching this era and I think your steps will come in super handy once we are crossing that bridge!

  • Nancy

    Ohmigosh! I remember my ‘freshman’ (in Canada we don’t use those terms, so I kinda love using them when I get the chance) year of High School. Luckily I knew a bunch of friends from junior high that were going to be going to the same school as I was.

  • Amanda

    As a high school teacher, I know first hand how important it is to get your child comfortable with the high school transition. One tip is to enroll her in summer school so she feels really comfortable at school before the fall.

  • Chubskulit Rose

    Thanks for these tips. My eldest still have few more years till high school but it’s nice to have these tips. It’s a big transition so it’s beneficial to know all these.

  • Liz Mays

    It can be a big step for both the parents and the child. These are good ideas. My son had his big sister already in high school when he became a freshman.

  • Jeanine

    Such great tips! My oldest is turning 12, and I’m so not ready for him to turn 14 and head into high school…. Oh man. I’ll be saving this to come back to when that time comes too!

  • Theresa

    Aw, I just can’t imagine preparing my daughter for high school! My oldest will be in kindergarten next year, and that’s a huge step too!

  • desirae young

    I dont even want to think about high school! My child is going into the third grade, and its already flown by. I will probably cry when we hit high school. Thanks so much for the tips.

  • Jessica Simms

    Oh man I am dreading high school right now, it’s such a different place than it was when I was in school. These are some really helpful tips thank you for sharing.

  • Melissa

    Oh Boy! I know that day is rapidly approaching but I am so not ready. Middle school is closer for us but I am terrified of that too! Why do they have to grow up so fast?

  • Debalino

    I love these tips! I will definitely bookmark these, as I know I will need them one day… soon! 🙂 My fave of course, is giving them a little swag – and YES – I will try not to go overboard… that, in itself is a challenge for me. I love the idea of having them find a go-to adult they can trust. That gives me so much confidence that I can walk away as she enters those doors. Gah… I’m not ready just yet!

  • Gabriel

    Good ideas to help smooth the transition. Hopefully they’ve already learned to be confident and know they have a few friends they can really trust.

  • CHANELLE

    While we still have many years before my daughter is in high school, we’re sending her off to preschool this fall. I have been trying to pump her up about it. Of course high school is a whole different ball game. I like that your high school held an overnight event to get the kids excited. I’m sure your daughter will transition nicely.

  • Uplifting Families

    These are wonderful tips. I remember my daughter heading to the 9th grade a few years ago. Thankfully, she was in band and already knew some people. She didn’t have any issues but the freshman need to be forewarned about the hazing or freshman pranks.

  • Joanne T Ferguson

    it is never very nice to make a change at any age and preparing for high school is only one of the many changes in life that will prepare someone for the future! They say the only thing constant in life is change!