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Help your teen adjust to a new school

Whether your teen is going to a new school in a new town or transitioning from middle to high school, starting a new school can be intimidating and a bit scary. Don’t let your teen get overwhelmed with fear. Use these tips to help your teen adjust to a new school.

Nervous teen boy getting on bus

1Tell him that First-day jitters are universal.

Remind your child that even each president of the United States — or some other person she admires — faced first-day jitters in his school years. Point out that all the other teens he’ll meet have felt new-school anticipation at one point or another. This will help him relate to his new peers and make them seem less intimidating.

2Remind her that she’ll see Familiar faces.

If your teen is transitioning from middle or junior high to high school, he can take solace in the fact that he will see some familiar faces from his former school at his new one. Holding onto those friendships can be very important in the adjustment period, but encourage your teen to make new friends at the high school while maintaining the friendships with his old pals.

3Get involved.

Whatever your teen’s passion, there is likely a group at her high school centered on that very thing. Whether it’s yearbook class, cheer, soccer, etc., encourage your teen to get involved in a school team or group to help her make new friends with similar interests.

4Get familiar with the school.

The sheer size of the school as well as the adjustment to changing classes up to six or seven times a day can add to the stress of adjusting to a new school, particularly high school. Get permission from the new school to come on campus a few days before your teen is set to start so he can map out his route to his classes based on his schedule. Getting familiar with the school’s grounds will help ease the fear of getting lost on the first day or stepping into the wrong classroom on accident.

5Dress for success.

Even if your teen’s new school doesn’t require uniforms, check with the school about any specific dress codes (such as no hats, tank tops, etc.). Dressing appropriately will help your teen fit in and avoid the embarrassment of being sent home. Get your teen excited by allowing her to get some new school clothes that fit the rules but express her style and personality.

6Foster social confidence.

If you’ve recently moved and your teen is entering a new school without his old pals, reassure him that he is great at making friends — as evidenced by all his buddies in your old town. Encourage him to strike up conversation with a student on the bus, in his homeroom or near his locker — someone he’ll likely see nearly every schoolday at some point. Encourage him to stay in touch with his old friends through social media outlets, texts or even phone calls.

Every teen will adjust to a new school in her own way. Watch for clues that your teen is adjusting well; if you notice abnormal behavior, talk to her right away and see a doctor if you feel the adjustment is causing her too much stress or even depression.

More tips for parents of teens

What to do when a teen loses a friend
Helping teens form real friendships
How to boost your teen girl’s self confidence

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