Is your youngster starting high school this year? Teacher, Rachel Downie shares her tips for parents to help a child adjust to high school:
- SET BOUNDARIES: Set boundaries and routines early around technology (especially mobile phones) and work/study regimens.
- CREATE A STUDY SPACE: Have a dedicated studying space that you can actively supervise. It is still appropriate at Year 7 and 8 to supervise this time, especially if kids are going to be using a computer/tablet. It really needs to be in a central location, not a bedroom.
- KEEP YOUR CHILD ACTIVE: Physical activity is important for kids. They may be studying more, but keep them moving.
- EAT DINNER TOGETHER: This creates opportunities for very important conversations because teenagers very quickly move into their ‘villages’ with their friends. Most teens say that their first point of conversational contact (especially about big stuff) is their friends, not their parents.
- SET AN APPROPRIATE BEDTIME: So many students go to bed too late. In fact, an increasing number of my students over the last few years have literally fallen asleep in class. It is hard to learn if you’re exhausted. Do not let them stay up texting and social networking until 3am.
- KNOW WHO YOUR CHILD’S FRIENDS ARE: Meet them. This includes online friends too. Our kids spend many, many hours with people online (and statistics show that up to 80 per cent of our kids’ online activities are hidden from us). Each one of these people has the ability to affect your child’s feelings, values and attitudes. Given that you are teaching values as a parent, it is of utmost importance that you know who is having input.
- BE AN INVOLVED PARENT: The only parents teachers usually see these days are the ones we don’t really need to see! One of the best ways you can support your child is to turn up! Be involved in the community and help the school problem-solve. We are all on the same side – your child’s.
- GROW A THICK SKIN: If your teen intensely dislikes you, you are doing an excellent job! Keep it up! Your child needs a parent, not a 30-something-year-old friend. I do know this is hard, but enforcing sometimes very important rules is difficult if you have a friendship with your child. It is okay to say no.
- ALWAYS AGREE WITH THE TEACHER: Just kidding … but please do!