5 tips for a smooth transition to high school
As teachers at MST, we have seen our fair number of students come through the gates on the first day of high school, some are quietly confident, some have no fear, some however are a little apprehensive and can find the transition a little more difficult. These differences come down to numerous factors - how many of their primary school friends are going, their personality or them having an older sibling at the school already.
Nonetheless, there are a number of things you can start doing now that will make the transition to high school smoother.
1. Nurturing friendships
Likelihood is that your child has been on at least one transition event to their high school in the summer term, and they may have met and exchanged numbers with some new friends on those days. This is a great time for your child to nurture those friendships, but to also keep in touch with old ones.
To help with this you can encourage meet ups and get togethers over the summer break, to stave off nerves building up before the September start.
2. Let them be independent
If they have not been given the opportunity before, now is the time to give them some independence. Walking to the shops, doing errands and meeting up with friends away from the house.
Not only does this show them that you trust them, but it inevitably builds confidence and belief that they are capable.
3. Mastering the journey to school
Most children in secondary school will eventually make their own way to school. So, encouraging your child to practise their walk, cycle or bus to school, with a friend could help tick the first two tip boxes.
This is often quite nerve racking to figure out on the first day - can you remember what it’s like driving to a job interview and not being able to find the building?
Doing this journey and also getting to know the area around school will be really beneficial for them feeling confident those first few days of high school.
4. Get them an alarm clock and a watch!
This may seem an obvious tip, but primary school children rarely have to consider time or wear a watch, they are provided with structure in their day and are unlikely to have had to consider the time throughout the day. Getting them to think about timekeeping now is an important skill to develop, so when they meet with their friends give them a time you want them to be back for allowing them to practise.
In addition, get them to time their route to school and calculate what time they will need to leave the house to ensure they are not late for school.
Resist allowing them to use their phones as alarm clocks, as this would mean them going to bed with their phones and as we all know these really can have detrimental effects on sleep quality (and quantity) and we don't need to add sleep deprivation into the mix! Try to establish boundaries around phone use early on as these habits can be hard to break later.
5. Discuss boundaries
Last, but certainly not least - discuss boundaries with your child, work them out together if you can, and consider their point of view. For example, will you expect them to come home straight after school, or is there a time you want them home by instead? What will they do if they are going to be late home, and will there be a consequence if this isn't done?
Having set these boundaries and being open to making reasonable adjustments to them, will be important in this transition.
These practical tips may just help your child’s transition to high school a little bit easier, but being there consistently and trusting in them, will make them feel confident and capable of this new challenge and will make the transition a positive one