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Helping your child get ready for high school

Moving from primary school to high school is an exciting transition, though it can be a big adjustment for your child. Starting high school involves going from a familiar environment with well established friendship groups and well-known teachers to a school that is completely new and unknown.

Helping your child prepare for the change will reduce any worry they may be experiencing and make it more likely they’ll enjoy moving schools. Talking with your child about high school is important. Whilst most of us want the holiday vibe to last as long as possible, don’t leave it until the day before school starts to start these conversations! If your child has concerns or needs to organise practical things, now is the time to find out. Here's some tips to help you get ready for an exciting time ahead.

Talk with your child about their feelings

Your child is likely experiencing a range of emotions. They may have things that they are excited about such as having new teachers, making new friends and studying new subjects.

Your child may also be feeling nervous or worried about certain things, such as fitting in, adjusting to the new workload, learning new routines and navigating their timetable. It will be a lot easier to support them to overcome their worries if you’re aware of what they are. Take the time to ask them how they are feeling about starting high school and focus on addressing a particular issue once it’s been identified.

Encourage healthy lifestyle basics As high school is an adjustment, it can be tiring for your child while they get used to the changes. Making sure they’re sleeping well, have a healthy diet and keep physically active can really help them settle better.

Getting ready for Day 1 Simple tasks such as having their uniform ready, packing adequate food for recess and lunch, reviewing their timetable with them, organising books and stationery will all help with decreasing stress on their first day.

Become familiar with the school layout Obtain a map of the school before the first day if possible, and review it with your child, identifying important areas such as the front office, student services, toilets and the canteen. You can even go for a quick visit during school holidays to make sure your child knows the planned pick up and drop off points, bus stops, etc.

Discuss the main differences of high school with your child If your child isn’t already aware, explain that when at high school, they will have several teachers, a wider variety of subjects and they will move between different classrooms for each lesson. Also explain that there will be a different mix of students in each class/lesson, so they’ll have a chance to get to know a wider range of children.

Be patient

Starting high school is a big deal. Be patient if your child seems “out of sorts” or acts differently whilst they are getting used to all the changes. If you’re concerned about their wellbeing, ask your support network of helpful family and friends about their parenting experiences, reach out to your child’s GP, check in with their year co-ordinator, or ask your child if they’d like to talk with a psychologist, school counsellor or chaplain.

Image courtesy of Jeremy Bishop via Unsplash

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