The transition from primary to high school can be an exciting but daunting time for both children and parents. These foundational years are so important, and the balance of parenting and independence can be difficult to navigate. Throw in hormones and erratic emotions, changing friendship groups, testing the waters of relationships and social media and you have one heck of a recipe for fun! When kids transition to high school it’s definitely a big-time of change for them.
The golden rule
There is none! There’s no magic answer or perfect plan for this transition. Each child, family, and situation are different and wonderfully unique. However, there are a few tried and tested strategies that may help your family ease into this next phase of life with confidence and joyful anticipation.
5 tips for transitioning to high school
Regularly chat and be relatable
Talk to your child! Have a genuine, open, and honest discussion on how you are both feeling. Be relatable! Offer examples of times where you’ve felt unsure, worried, or anxious over a change in your life. Starting a new job for example, and explain that these feelings are completely normal and understandable.
If your child is focused on the negative emotions they are feeling, try to guide them toward the more exciting aspects of the transition that they can look forward to. For example the opportunities for extra-curricular activities, new friendships, more independence and a fantastic canteen!
Hanging out and having fun
It’s common for teens to put more importance on friends than family. You can combat this by maintaining a strong relationship with your child. One on One date nights are a fun way to do this. Make time for your child once a fortnight or month. Have one special event that you do together and take turns in choosing the activity.
This time together is all about fun- so keep conversations light. Compliment your child. Tell them they look gorgeous; you love the way they have done their hair or styled their outfit. Go bowling, for dinner or the movies. Spend time building your relationship with them, make it a regular habit and enjoy these special times together.
The beauty of setting boundaries
Your child needs you to be a parent first and foremost in this stage of their life. They need you to set boundaries, guidelines and expectations for them, even if they don’t know it yet! Being clear about what you expect from them can be extremely valuable to help navigate conflict when it arises.
Set verbal, and even visual guidelines and expectations for social media (more on this next), schoolwork, friendships, relationships and extracurricular activities. It also helps to set clear consequences, so you are all on the same page about what happens if a line is crossed. If your child responds well to rewards, then this is the time to set those as well.
Let’s get real and talk tech
Devices and social media- like it or not they are here to stay. You need to be realistic about your child’s use of these. Most children entering high school own their own device and use these during school hours. One main issue facing youth is device addiction. By beginning your child’s journey with very clear guidelines and expectations, you are limiting the impact this can have in your home.
Set specific time periods for use and a docking station in your home for other times and overnight. A good spot for docking is in your bedroom as your child is less likely to sneak in at 11pm and take their device! Be prepared for a bit of fight back with this one, and you may need to be flexible and work out a fair time system together. Managing this will perhaps be your biggest hurdle but stay strong! You’ve got this!
Speaking and spreading love
Build your child’s emotional wellbeing by speaking love, worth and genuine praise to them. Be specific, tell them exactly what you love about them, how valuable and worthy they are, and praise them for specific things they do. By setting these foundations you are positively impacting your child’s confidence and self-esteem.
While you’re at it, speak love to yourself! You’re doing a fantastic job. This parenting gig is hard, and times of transition and change can make it feel harder. Remember to spend some time on yourself too; you can’t give from an empty cup!
And finally, enjoy this wonderful time ahead. It’s precious and beautiful.
Founder: Laura Collison, Well Education- Emotional and Social Wellbeing Education for Children
Description: Well Education exists for one purpose– to support our youths in developing knowledge, understanding and practises to take control of their own emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. Our programs have been developed to target specific age groups and their unique social, emotional and physical needs. This ensures relevant content that is both engaging and speaks directly to their areas of need.
Phone: 0404 628 420