Nailed the primary school gig and figure it’s plain sailing from here on in? Not always. Hello, high school!
If your kid is starting high school this year, hold on to your hat mamas! For some kids, it’s a breeze and a natural progression of their schooling and social circle. For others, it’s daunting. Everything is new, they don’t know where they’re going, they don’t know the other kids and everything is scary as heck.
Prepare your mum ego to get a whack. It’s unlikely there will be a request for you to hang by their side in the schoolyard. Ouch. Here’s what you need to know when you’ve come full circle and find yourself starting again at the High School gate.
1. You are your child’s biggest cheerleader
Regardless of how ready your kid appears to be for high school, they’re going to be looking to you for support and confidence. If you’re lucky, they’ll talk about their concerns, but many won’t. Be positive, let them know there’s no problem too big to nut out together and that you’re always there to help.
2. Be positive about change
Just like young kids, older kids can sniff out our own anxieties and stresses in an instant and adopt them as their own. Acknowledge that sure, there’s going to be changes to adapt to but it’s all cool and totally doable. Just give it time. TIP: If your kid is anxious, send a cheery text during the day. Promise an afterschool milkshake so there’s light at the end of the day. Plus it’s a good excuse for a sneaky school chat.
3. Don’t skip the school orientation day
If there’s an opportunity to suss out the school, the teachers and the other kids – take it. Information is KEY when heading into the unknown. You might think a tour of the grounds is as boring as watching paint dry, but it’s great for helping kids get familiar with their surroundings.
4. Navigating social media
The start of high school often coincides with turning from a tween to a teen. Which means more privileges like owning a phone and having social media platforms at their fingertips. It’s crux time for parents to set screen limits or kids will scroll on all night long. Keep their devices overnight to ensure they get a good night sleep.
5. New friends, new influences
New friends, new influences and sometimes what you think will mean diddly squat to your kid. If your kid has made plans with other kids, ring their parents to make sure you’re all on the same page. All you can do as a parent is guide kids in making the right decisions, talk to them even when they appear to not be listening. On occasion, kids will do stupid things, don’t let those moments slide by, pull them up on it!
6. Bullying is still a thing
On the flip side of making new friends, there’s bullying to keep an eye out for. Unfortunately, bullying is real, even in high school. If you think your kid is copping a hard time, don’t be afraid to contact the school with your concerns.
7. There’s going to be favourite subjects and teachers
We need to accept there’s going to be favourite subjects and teachers and then there’s going to be those who are none of that. It’s likely your child will move heaven and earth for the subjects and teachers they like and will do the bare minimum to keep them out of detention for others. Life lesson: you have to take the good with the bad.
8. High school is expensive
The budget can wince with high school expenses. Computers are needed, fancy calculators are required, the school uniform shop takes a hefty cut and there are loads of (expensive) extracurricular activities on offer. All of that’s happening while your kids are growing like weeds and eating their way through each day.
If you can, allow a little extra in the budget to accommodate a few fun activities for kids to do with others to help establish friendships. Hanging out at the local pool, going to the movies, that kind of thing until your kid is comfortable in inviting friends home.
9. The homework situation
Have you got any homework? Nope (standard answer). LIES! It’s a given that homework will be amped up a notch in high school. And even on the off chance the teacher doesn’t set homework, there’s always something that can be done (read a few pages of that novel or practice that maths theory, Google what that science term means… and so on.) Get kids into the good study habit of doing something every night, not waiting until the night before it’s due.
10. It’ll get better and better!
The first year of high school is just the tip of the iceberg – there’s so much more to come as kids mature and discover themselves and their passions. There are SO many memories to be made and often the friendships that are made in high school carry on through to adulthood. Happy days!
So tell us, are you ready? Do you have any concerns about your kid starting high school or perhaps you have some sage advice you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it!