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Relax! -Take Seven Easy Steps to Help Your Child Into High School

Sep 5, 2008
One of the biggest challenges faced by children the world over occurs during the months of August and September. That's when kids make the transition to high school. And it's not only the kids who feel the strain. For some parents it's just as bad - and for many it's even worse!

This leads us into the first step you can take to help.

Step 1

Relax! Children really pick up on the vibes given off by their parents. They may be mildly nervous because going to high school is a big change in their young lives - but if Mom and Dad come across as worried... Well, thinks Junior, I'm missing something here. This must be a bigger problem than I thought!

So make a conscious effort to relax. Your worry and concern are a tribute to the fact you care, but you don't want to make things worse. When you feel nervous, breathe deeply a few times, locate where the worry is in your body - Probably in your stomach - and let it shudder its way through you. Then SMILE and be cheerful.

Step 2

Talk with your kids and find out just how much they know about life at the high school. In many countries and states there will have been a high school induction programme during the last days of the junior school. Your children may already be quite familiar with the new regime.

Or they may know nothing at all.

The key here is reassurance. If they do know what's coming and how they're going to fit in, then talk about it. Again, relax and smile. Treat it as an adventure.

If you find they don't know much, then make a point of finding out: get the school handbook; talk to friends who have 'been there'; speak to a teacher at the school. Then discuss the findings with your kids. (Better not to rely on your own experience of going to high school as much may have changed since then!)

Step 3

If your child has to decide which classes to take, plan this with them. In some schools these decisions are not made straight away, so find out. Discuss whether your kids have career plans at this stage, as that may have a bearing on the choices they make and the colleges they eventually apply for. It's never too early! On the other hand, most kids haven't a clue about careers at this stage, so focus on what really interests them.

Step 4

Invest in a school diary or school planner. Many schools provide these, and they're great for recording class times, the dates assignments and tests are due, holidays, and so on. Staying organized is crucial to success, so if the school doesn't provide a planner make sure your kids have one.

Step 5
One of the biggest changes your kids will discover is the amount of home study expected of them. This can be daunting, especially if they've had it easy up 'til now. Ease the transition by ensuring they have a well-lit, well-aired, quiet study area at home - or even at their grandparents' if that's more convenient. Ask if the school runs a Homework Club. These are supervised, so the work gets done!

Step 6

To help them settle and to give them an antidote to the increased study regime, encourage your kids to join in the extra-curricular activities on offer. There's usually something to suit all tastes: sports and athletics, dancing, drama, chess, music tuition and performance... whatever your kids are 'into'.

Step 7

Resist the temptation to think you know it all. If you talk, talk, talk all the time you may be missing what could be the most important issue of all: what your kids are actually thinking and feeling. Encourage them to voice their concerns, their anxieties, their enthusiasms, their queries. To use the old cliché, be there for them!

Making the transition to high school is only the beginning of a new adventure, but getting it right is crucial. Apply these seven steps and you and your kids are well on your way. Your kids will enjoy the transition and you can relax in the knowledge that you're a dedicated, caring, and supportive parent.
About the Author
At his website www.FamilySoftshop.com Frank McGinty offers lots of advice on study skills, education and parenting matters. Drop by and pick up a free report on how to help your kids develop Concentration Skills .
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