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5 Tips for Calming First-Day Jitters in High School

By The Understood Team

Teens aren’t always eager to share all their worries with their parents. Just because they haven’t said anything doesn’t mean they don’t have any worries as they approach the start of the school year. High school can be a very stressful time, especially for struggling students.

Demanding academics, more responsibilities to juggle, a confusing social scene, and college and career on the horizon—there’s a lot to deal with. If your teen isn’t open about her feelings, be on the lookout for signs of anxiety, and try these tips to calm first-day jitters in high school.

1. Make sure his schedule is correct.

Sometimes schools make mistakes as they schedule classes for students. An unexpected mix-up can heighten first-week anxiety. Suggest your child look over his schedule ahead of time, or do it together, so there are no surprises. That also allows him to have his schedule corrected as early as possible.

2. Talk about non-school commitments.

Sometimes high-schoolers bite off more than they can chew in terms of activities and part-time jobs. Ask whether he thinks he’ll be able to juggle all the activities he’s involved in, along with schoolwork. If it’s just too much, ask which one he’d choose to drop for right now. Doing it before the school year starts will save a lot of stress in the long run.

3. Remind him of the support he has.

Your high-schooler might feel like he’s suddenly on his own when it comes to staying on top of schoolwork. But while he’s expected to take on more responsibility, there are a number of people he can turn to for help.

Encourage him to self-advocate with teachers and case managers, and to speak up before things get way off track or he feels totally lost or overwhelmed. Remind him that he can always come to you, too.

4. Help relieve fears about the future.

As kids progress through high school, the prospect of college, work or a combination of the two looms large. So do tests like the ACT and SAT. Assure your child there are many paths students take after high school, and that you’ll help him explore ones that are right for him. If he has an , remind him that together you’ll work with the school to plan for a smooth transition to life after school.

5. Be sensitive to social pressures.

Your teen may not tell you outright that he’s nervous about social situations. But if you know what his past experiences have been, you can try to open the door to discussion.

You might say something like, “The high school is so much bigger than middle school. Are you afraid you won’t know people in your classes?” Or, “You haven’t seen Emily since you broke up this summer. Are you worried about running into her at school?” Find out what to do if he gives you the silent treatment. And learn more about why your teen may be frustrated about school—and what you can say to help.

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  • Facebook
  • Twitter
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  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom