15 Ways to Help Your Teenager Succeed in High School

Jul 10, 2018

Whether your teenager is going into high school for the first time or returning for another year, they’ll inevitably feel stress from the pressure placed on them. After all, the high school years are crucial in preparation for the university or adult years. Even if your teen has plans other than tertiary education, high school is still one of the most pivotal transitions in their life. Teens are learning who they are, what interests them, and how to manage in the adult world. In this guide, we’ll discuss 15 different ways you can help your teen succeed in high school, thus setting them up for success afterwards.

  1. Prepare for the First Day

The first day of school can be challenging and stressful, even for students returning to high school for another year. As a parent, one of the best things you can do is help your teen prepare for that first day. For example, take a look at the bus route and find out the boarding time and what time your teen will be home. Another excellent way to prep your child for their first day of school is to actually schedule a tour of the school. This is particularly helpful for younger children going into their first year of high school. During your tour, your child will have the opportunity to see where his or her classrooms will be, as well as where they lockers, bathrooms, and gym are located. While a tour only takes a few minutes, the psychological impacts of doing such can help your teen feel much more prepared and relaxed when their first day of high school arrives.

  1. Know the Warning Signs of Stress

High school students can easily get stressed out. After all, they have a new schedule chock full of new and advanced classes, as well as extracurricular activities. Many students are balancing academics with athletics and even a job at this point. As a parent, you want to make sure your teen is handling everything well. No one knows your teen better than you do, and while teens are known for being emotional, any major changes in behaviour or mood could be a red flag. Listen to your teen when he or she is venting and try to find out where those emotions are coming from. If you suspect your teen is having stress issues, see if the school has resources such as guidance counselling available to help navigate through these waters.

  1. Stay Involved with Parents and Staff

One of best ways you can help your high school child is to simply be aware of what’s going on. By staying involved with the network at your child’s high school, you can stay plugged in to the latest happenings. Try to keep in touch with other parents, and try to make time to talk to the teachers and other staff. Attend parent-teacher conferences, when they are needed, and even schedule a meeting if you think it’s needed. If there’s an orientation or other event, try your best to be there. You’ll be surprised what you’ll learn about your teen, the other students, and the environment they’re in while at school. Also, if you have a teen with special needs, be sure to plan for that with approaches that could include individualized learning plans and gifted classes.

  1. Visit the High School’s Website and Social Media

If you’re the parent of a teen who’s in high school, then life is going to be extra busy. One of the best ways to keep up with everything going on at school is by staying tuned to the school’s website and social media. Through these channels, you’ll hear about bits of news that you might not hear of otherwise. As a busy adult, you might find that it’s hard to keep up with every aspect of your child’s high school career, but when you stay abreast of the calendar and events via the school’s website and social media pages, you can ensure that you don’t miss out on the details. Thanks to social media, you might even be able to see pictures from field trips and sporting events.

  1. Stay Academically Involved

One of the best ways to ensure that your high school student is set up for academic success in high school is to offer support in that area. While you might not be able to help them manage every subject, take time to work with your student in areas of particular need. For example, if your teen is struggling in algebra, work with him or her after school. If you are having difficulty too, then look around for a tutor who can help. Check progress reports and report cards to make sure your child is on-task, and also support them when they’re writing papers and completing projects. Be their helper – ask them what they need and offer it. By showing your support, you are empowering your high school teen to do their very best.

  1. Help Your Teen with Time and Task Management

Teens are in their formative years, between childhood and adulthood, and they are forming skills that are going to bring them success in their futures. One way to help your teens in high school is to help them form time management and task management skills. For the first time ever, they’re going to be juggling full schedules. Work with your teen to set schedules by purchasing a planner for them or downloading an app that will help them keep up with their busy schedules.

  1. Offer Support in Other Areas, Too

You don’t want to micromanage your high school child – after all, their mood will quickly deteriorate if you do. On the other hand, let them know that you are on their team. Help them build healthy habits such as good sleep schedules and maintaining a balanced diet. Gently ask your teen about deadlines when you know they’ve got an exam coming up or a project due, and help them prepare for those big deadlines well ahead of time. Any support you give will help your child in their high school career.

  1. Take up art lessons!

Taking the time to explore and develop your teens artistic ability is a fantastic way of continuing the learning process whilst mentally relaxing at the same time. Art has been proven to have huge benefits for the brain, and the more exposure to art, the better those benefits are. For example, art can help children recognize and create patterns, be critical thinkers, problem solve, and explore themselves in a non-verbal way. One thing that art is uniquely able to do is help students focus.

We wrote an article over at Artventure (our online library of art classes for kids) discussing the benefits art has on all learning – we highly recommend checking it out! (this sentence will have links through it) 

  1. Encourage Attendance and Be Abreast of Absences

While your teenager is likely enjoying a bit more freedom, you should help them maintain a healthy attendance record at school. High schools are just as tough, if not tougher, on absences than other grade levels. If your high schooler has to miss a day due to illness or an emergency, check to see what the absence policy is and ensure that you are within guidelines for keeping unexcused absences as low as possible. Also, try to reduce or eliminate lateness as much possible. Late arrivals and missed days can put your teen behind in their schoolwork, and in the high school years, it’s best to stay on top of academics!

  1. Model Good Communication

Yes, teens are known for their moods and emotions, but the truth is that you’ve got to lead the way for communication. While you don’t want to pry, let your teen know that you want to stay involved in their high school career to ensure they set out for adulthood on the right path. Be open and honest, and you’ll be surprised at the communication you receive in return. When you stay in tune with your teen and abreast of his or her life, you can help reduce social and academic problems that could otherwise go unnoticed by you.

  1. Know About and Get Ready Exams

Standardized tests are critical for your teen’s tertiary future, but they can also be helpful in so many other areas. For example, these tests can show you what areas your teen is excelling in, as well as the areas he or she is falling behind in. These tests can help tell what studies your high schooler should take in college/university, and they can help him or her choose a career. Check with your school to find out when your teen should be taking these tests. In addition, look for courses that can be used to help your teen get the most out of his or her testing.

  1. Check into Dual Enrolment Options

In the high school years, students tend to solidify some of their strong areas and interests. If your teen has already done so, or if your teen is interested in getting a jump start on his or her tertiary education, then you can check with local education providers (ie TAFE, community college etc) to discover dual enrolment. These classes offer your child the opportunity to take  courses while he or she is still in high school. As you might imagine, this can open up incredible doors for your child as they prepare for the university years. Some students can even earn apprenticeships, diplomas or certificates while in high school. Check your local education providers to find out if dual enrolment is available, but be sure to ask about accreditation before committing.

  1. Teach Your Teen Financial Responsibility

Your teen is going to be entering the “real” world very soon, and he or she might already have a job. Helping your teen learn financial responsibility can help them save money through their high school years, and it can teach them how to meet goals during these years. Financial literacy can never be taught soon enough, but teaching your teen how to wisely leverage financial instruments and money can help them all their lives. Not only will teaching your teen financial literacy help them during high school, but it will also carry them for the years afterwards.

  1. Encourage and Teach Social Skills

The truth is that none of us are born with social skills. Yes, some of us are naturally more sociable and others are more shy, but we all have to practice those skills to keep them sharp. Take time to help your child sharpen their socialization skills to help them better socialize in high school. This will help them make friends and be better students in general. For instance, an overly shy student might not want to raise their hand in class, and this might mean that they don’t receive an answer to a pertinent question. Work with your teen by showing them examples of socialization and helping them sharpen their socialization skills.

  1. Have Them Take a Personality Test

Personality tests are more than just a fad! We see them posted all over social media and the web, but the truth is that high schoolers can actually learn a lot from these tests. High schoolers are getting to know themselves and manage in the real world. A personality test can help them realize and discover more about who they really are. These realizations can help them be more honest with themselves, be better decision makers, learn new study skills that work for them, make friends, and more. Personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs are excellent for high school students.

To summarise

All of these strategies are designed to help you stay involved and build your teen up through the high school years. After all, as a parent, you want your child to have the best. When you help them through weaknesses and offer praise for strengths, all while teaching confidence and responsibility, you will ensure that your teen is on the best path possible during high school and beyond. Whether your student is a first year high school student or late teenager who’s getting ready for university, you can use all of these strategies to strengthen their weaknesses and solidify the foundation for their adulthood.