The move to high school can come as a shock to both parents and children. You may feel your child isn’t ready to take the responsibility for what is probably a longer journey to school, perhaps using public transport. They will usually have a large amount of books and equipment to carry around and may find it difficult to organise themselves. As the school will be expecting your child to take greater responsibility, you should try to continue this at home as much as possible, but that can be easier said than done.
Here are some tips parents find useful:
At this age children start to want more privacy when they’re getting ready. Organise a schedule for the bathroom in the mornings so no-one is made late by waiting!
Try and resist the temptation to do everything. Your child needs to learn to manage their time efficiently and they won’t do it if you get everything ready for them.
Encourage your child to get organised the evening before. This saves themselves (and you!) a lot of undue stress in the morning. Remind them to check their timetable for the following day, pack their bag and lay out their uniform if necessary.
At this age they will probably have several homework tasks to complete each night, and most schools record this in a homework diary. Make a note to yourself to read and sign the diary at least once a week to make sure your child is keeping up with their assignments.
Have a calendar on display at home clearly marked with different equipment needed for different days (sports kit, music, projects etc.) Encourage the habit of looking at the schedule the night before and organising schoolbags there and then.
If your child is getting to school on public transport for the first time, find out if any friends live nearby so they can travel together.
Make sure they have good road sense.
Use every opportunity to keep in contact with the school – more difficult now classes are bigger and your child has many different subject teachers. If the school has a website, be sure to check regularly for information updates and news.
‘We have a family diary where everything is written down and a pin board at the bottom of the stairs with reminders. Also on the front door there’s a note which reads: ‘ Do you have everything? Bags, Lunch, Homework, P.E bag, Keys, etc.’
Katie ‘I ask each evening if they have homework and check school homework diaries regularly. We have time set aside before and after dinner which is homework time.‘
Alison ‘I get the kids to help me prepare their lunch for next day the night before and check before they go to bed that they’ve brought down to the hall everything they need.‘
Julie ‘My daughter was worried about the bus journey when she went up to high school. To get her comfortable with it I travelled with her a few times as a ‘practise’ in the school holidays before term started.’
David ‘I found the new parents’ induction meeting very valuable. I exchanged phone numbers and email addresses with other parents, and these have been a godsend when I want to check homework set or other messages we might have otherwise missed.’