Is your child going to be starting high school soon? Are you wondering what you might do to help him or her prepare and build confidence for the transition? In coming posts I will address a number of challenges facing high schoolers and how to prepare for them to ensure high school success. Let’s start with the basics, the building.
In the year leading up to the transition, look for opportunities for your child to just get familiar with the school’s facilities. Be sure to attend the open house that is offered. Contact your school’s counseling department for important dates. Some high schools have summer programs for incoming first year students. Be sure to contact your school counselor in the fall of 8th grade and ask for information about any such programs. Some middle schools will take their 8th graders to the high school for a tour before the school year ends. Talk with your middle school counselor to learn how the school is helping your child prepare.
In addition to the formal options, look for the chance to attend events such as a football or basketball game, a school play, or a fundraiser. On the weekend walk around the grounds and peak in windows. Help your child create a few memories on the grounds so that she already feels like she belongs there. Bring your child with a few of his friends to run around the track or throw a frisbee on the field.
Attend something in each season so that your child feels the difference at the new school. Take a photo of your rising high schooler on campus, print it out and post it at home. Think of it as cultivating good feelings and experiences associated with the building so that when your son or daughters steps on campus that first day, he or she will already have an automatic positive association with being there.
Be creative. Have fun with it and they will too.