Starting High School

Starting high school is one of life’s big transitions and naturally it comes with its share of excitement and nerves.

What are kids worried about when starting high school?  We asked this question to grade 8 students and this is what they said:

  • Balancing the increased demands of a high school workload with sports, activities or a part-time jobWill I have enough time to do all of this? 
  • Changing social relationshipsWho am I going to hang out with?  I don’t want to look like a loser. 
  • Being in a larger schoolWill I be able to find my locker? Will I make the sports teams?

These are part of a grade 9 student’s new reality.  This is how can parents help.

  • Help them develop time management skills.  Show them how to keep track of assignments by using a calendar and how to prioritize what to do first.  Give them a quiet place in your home to do homework and study.  As for a part-time job, research suggests no more than 15 hours a week, any more and academic performance suffers.  Even if the homework schedule is heavy, encourage them to set time aside to stay involved in an activity they enjoy.  This will give them a healthy way of coping with stress.
  • Listen to them and help them problem solve when they want to talk about their social life.  Show interest in your teen’s social activities then just listen when your teen wants to talk.  Don’t jump in and solve their problems. Use this as an opportunity to show them how to problem-solve.  Make it easy for your kids to bring their friends home by making your home a welcoming place.  Show an interest in their friends and try to get to know their parents.
  • Encourage them to get involved in their new school.  Teens will feel a stronger sense of belonging at school when they are involved in a club, team or activity.  Feeling connected at school will have a positive effect on academic success.  Encourage their continued involvement by showing an interest in what they do.

Most important, just encourage your teen by telling them you know they are going to do great in high school.  After all, for all its angst, the high school years can hold some of our best memories.

Share your experience:

For more tips and hints about supporting your teen starting high school, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:

  • Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
  • Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
  • Email us at
  • Dial 311 or 905-825-6000 for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m

About this guest blogger:

Michelle Schwarz, RN has over 10 years experience in public health and has enjoyed diverse professional experiences promoting the health of babies, children and youth and supporting many parents along the way.  Her current work focuses on preventing injuries and substance misuse among youth.  She holds a Master of Public Administration degree, Health Policy specialization from Queens University, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from McMaster University.  She also enjoys being a dedicated mother to her 3 young children.

This entry was posted in Children & Tweens, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Child/Tween, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Teen, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Teens, Transition to High School and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Starting High School

  1. Pingback: Your teen just finished their first day of grade 9! | HaltonParents

  2. Pingback: How do teens feel about starting high school? Hear their voice… | HaltonParents

  3. Pingback: Parenting is key to help teens navigate high school | HaltonParents

  4. Naheed Bano says:

    My son does not talk to me or his father about school.most of the evening he spends in his room on his mobile.all efforts to change him have failed.

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