By Wendi Ostroff

1. Recognize this is a big transition for your teenager.
Being supportive of this transition will help determine a student’s success in high school. Help them feel confident and prepared for the next step. Encourage them to get involved and participate in clubs, sports, and new activities.

2. Do a walk-through of the campus.
Go for a visit to map out where classes are and familiarize yourself with the school campus before the start of the year. Feeling comfortable in new surroundings is a great confidence boost.

3. Get organized.
Buy some school supplies before the start of school, and come up with a family calendar or bulletin board that works for everyone. Help your student with their new schedule and set up a study area for them to do their homework if they don’t already have an established place.

4. Prepare for the summer slide.
Without focusing on academics, most students will lose some ground over the summer. Encourage your student to read, take them to the library, or buy them a few new books. If they struggled in a particular subject before the end of the year, have them review, find a summer program, or get them tutoring before school begins.

5. Be involved.
Showing them you care about doing well in school is important. Attend back-to-school-night. Meet with the guidance counselor and your student to go over a four-year plan. Volunteer and join PTSA. Don’t assume that now that your student is in high school, they don’t need you anymore. They need you just as much and your involvement will help keep them on track.

6. Find your own balance between not being a helicopter parent and allowing for independence.
Easier said than done, however, this is important for all the relationships in the family. Give them space and yet be supportive. Be the parent and not a friend. Know where to draw the line. Ask questions. Listen. Get to know new friends. Offer support and keep track of academic progress. Make boundaries. Limit screen/phone time on weeknights (good luck with that one).

7. Reach out for help if needed.
If your student is struggling academically, socially, emotionally, having a lot of anxiety, drastic mood swings, unusual behavior or eating habits, find someone to talk to. This could be from a family member, counselor, therapist, or academic instructor. Stay positive and get the support needed.