Starting high school

Top ten tips for parents and families

Read our tips below for some advice on helping them make the move to high school or download the PDF file here.

This is an unsettling time for children. From being the big ones at primary school, they're going to be the youngest in a much bigger school. They're looking for more independence but at the same time feeling unsure of themselves.

1) Visiting the new school

Always visit the new school that you have chosen before your child starts. Most high schools have special evenings where new parents and children can visit, look around and talk to teachers. Even though your child will not remember where everything is at least the journey and buildings will be more familiar on their first day.

2) Their first day

Appreciate that your child will be going from being the eldest to being the youngest in the school, this can be daunting for children. Children will want to be more independent and will want to get to school by themselves. Try to arrange for your child to travel to school with a friend or older sibling to start with - they will soon make their own way.

3) Talking and listening

Talk to your child about their new school, the teachers, friendships and the work. They may have worries so try to encourage them to talk to you about how they are feeling. You could tell them about your first day at high school.

4) Praise and encouragement

When your child moves to high school you may feel that your role is diminishing. Parents remain just as important to their children especially during the tricky move to high school. Praise and encourage them at every opportunity, this will build their self esteem and enable them to feel more confident and secure in their new surroundings.

5) Show interest

Let your child know that you are genuinely interested in what he/she does at school and at home. Offer support and guidance with school work but be careful not to pressurise them.

6) Physical changes

Your child's body is changing. Some children change physically faster than others - this can be difficult for some children. Talk to your child about how their bodies are changing and will change in the future. Reassure them that it is normal and is all part of growing up.

7) Give them space

We all need time for ourselves. Children should have their own space, time for themselves and the right not to tell their parents everything about their lives. Young teenagers can often change from being a talkative child to a moody adolescent.

8) School activities

Find out about after school activities and encourage your child to become involved. Most schools have a great range of different after school activities. You can usually find out about what's going on through your child's school website. This is a good way for your child to discover new interests and make new friends.

9) School contact

Regularly attend school parents' evenings and school meetings. This shows your child and the school that you are interested in how things are going. Do not hesitate to contact the teacher if you have any concerns about your child.

10) Look after yourself

Parents today have a difficult job to do but parents don't need to be perfect. Make sure you look after yourself and have people to talk to when you need to. Try to spend some time thinking about your own life and priorities