5 Tips to Ease the Transition from Middle School to High School

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We are a few weeks into the Fall Semester here, and for our new high schooler things are going pretty good. She is really enjoying some of her new found social freedoms, and her first foray into team sports is proving to be a great success for her personally even if that win isn’t always represented on the score board. But with all of these new adventures comes some anxiety and a few new challenges. Her challenges aren’t all that unique as many of us former high schoolers can attest, but there are some unique things that today’s adolescents face that we never did! So, when supporting your student’s transition from middle school to high school, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Keep Homework Time as Positive as Possible – many students will find the academic rigors of high school to be much more demanding than those of middle school. Students who didn’t have to spend much time studying in lower grades may be challenged for the first time, and most schools don’t have the time to teach good study skills. Make sure that you help your student set aside a space just for homework and that you help them eliminate distractions to the extent possible. You might even want to help them make study note cards to aid in the process, but always keep the emphasis on their best individual effort. While not every kid will make A’s, all kids can put forth their best efforts and we can all celebrate that!

2.  Make Sure that Tech is Being Used for the Right Reasons – if the only time that they are on their laptop is to update their social media posts, we have an issue. Technology and the internet can be great resources, but Wikipedia is not an appropriate place to gather reliable information for a report. Make sure that they are using reputable sites to gather data, and employ parental controls to restrict access to sites that aren’t likely to lend much useful information to the assignment. If you are unsure about sites that are good resources, talk to your local librarian – they are excited to help. Remember, that it’s the combination of technology and teachers that will guide your student through the learning process! Which one do you think is most important?

Teaching or Tech

3. Maintain Open Dialogues – the conversations that you have with your child, their teachers, and school administrators should extend well beyond ‘Open House’ night and Parent-Teacher Conferences. Just as you wouldn’t expect one conversation with a mechanic to ensure years of optimal vehicle performance, so too must your dialogues with the professionals who work with your teen be ongoing and reciprocal. When the warning signs for trouble start to appear, engage these professionals as resources to aid your student in getting back on the right road. Technology is great, but it’s no substitute for face-to-face consultations!

4. Know what Resources are Available – it may be that your student isn’t a natural at French, or that Algebra II is just eating their lunch everyday! That’s ok. They don’t have to be a natural and you don’t have to be an expert in order for them to succeed. Almost every school has tutoring resources that they can identify to help your teen succeed. Whether the solution is extra time with the teacher or a local volunteer group of college students, there is nearly always a resource available that you can help your student access in order to be successful. School doesn’t have to be stressful, and nobody has to go down difficult roads alone. Reach out to guidance counselors, teachers, librarians, and school administrators. All of these people have a stake in seeing your child succeed, and there are options to make that success a reality! You can also check out the Follett website for some great resources you can put to work today with all of your kids.  Follett, a leading provider of education technology, services and print and digital content, is hooking you up with their #FallBackToSchool campaign, which is focused on how parents and children can prepare to head back to school.  Check them out f

5. Be a Cheerleader – if the only conversations that you have with your teen are centered around their struggles, then high school is going to last forever. There will be challenging times, and most students just know that they are thinking, feeling, and experiencing things in a way that no person in the history of humanity has ever known. That’s ok – in fact, it’s pretty typical. At the end of the day, they need to feel like someone is in their corner and that someone is interested in hearing what they have to say. Being that sounding board and source of emotional support has advantages for you and for them! Parents who are engaged have kids who are more likely to finish school, delay sex, and report greater life satisfaction than those who don’t. So grab a pom pom and give ’em a cheer – or at least an ear!

It is in an exciting time for your teen and for you. Enjoy the homecoming games and the awkward social interactions. Encourage showers and buy an extra deodorant for the car so your teen can reapply on the way to school. Chaperon a dance or field trip and help with a fundraiser because these years aren’t going to last for very long at all. We have 4 years and ours will be off to college – while she will undoubtedly be home to do laundry and raid the fridge, these are the final years we are likely to all live together. Have fun and find the happy as you support their growth and celebrate their success!

Check out the Follett website for more great information on supporting your kids at every stage! There are some wonderful resources available for all families.

Is your student finished with high school? Congrats! Make sure that they get everything that they need to get a great start in college. If you missed anything during the move-in weekend, Family Weekend is coming and you can help them by making sure that they are equipped to succeed!


What tips do you have to help kids make smooth transitions in school?


  1. says

    We didn’t have middle school in my little rural town. We went to elementary until we were in 6th grade, and then moved on to the next building for 7th. And 7th was definitely the worst year of my life. I don’t think there is enough money in the world to make me do it again!

  2. says

    Ah this brings back a lot of memories I feel like high was last year and so far away at the same time. It was an interesting time for me but I agree with all your points about the transition and the work parents can do to help.

  3. Rosey says

    This is a smart write up. I thought the transition from grammar to middle was the most difficult here, with my first three. We’ll see how it goes when the time comes with my last one. :)

  4. says

    I can’t imagine how hard it is to have so many technical distractions nowadays for kids in school. I guess time management is one of the most important skills for students to learn.

  5. Clarissa says

    I love how positive you are in this post. I can definitely use some of these tips, although my kids are ages 2-4. I know these tips would come in handy.

  6. says

    These are all such great tips. Parents really can be a positive influence on kids during this transition, even while keeping the parent role in perspective. I will

  7. says

    This is great advice! I have a first grader and we are laying the stepping stones for success now and that includes homework time right after school. We do a quick snack, but then its back to getting the homework done. I figure if I’m a stickler now about it, when he’s older, he’ll just know what to expect.

  8. says

    All of my kids are out of high school and college – wow, they grew up fast! These are all excellent tips. I well remember when I made the transition from middle to high school. I was so nervous!

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