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“How can we support our son as he transitions to high school?”

It is a question we hear from so many parents wanting the best for their child, no matter what his goals or dreams are. 

Attend orientation sessions

Touring the campus grounds and experiencing what high school is like is a great opportunity to get your son ready for that next big step. Orientation sessions help to mentally prepare him for what to expect when he starts the year. It also gives you, as a parent, a chance to learn what he will be dealing with and help him to develop the independence and resilience he needs to handle the changes. Orientation is also a good opportunity for your son to get to know his new teachers and ask questions, so be sure to help him prepare some ahead of time. 

Have regular conversations

Your son will meet new people, have different routines, be given more homework and be expected to take on more responsibilities. In addition to all this, he will be going through physical changes and dealing with all the challenges of being an adolescent. It’s important to encourage regular conversation with him leading up to the start of high school; this will help you understand how he is feeling and work out how you can help. 

Consider his mental and physical health

Ensure your child gets enough sleep, exercises regularly and maintains a healthy and balanced diet. Beyond obvious preparation activities, considering his mental and physical health may provide a buffer from any negative effects of transitioning to high school. Dr Christopher Forrest from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and his colleagues from Pennsylvania and Maryland health services, followed educational outcomes for students across 34 schools as they transitioned into middle school in an article titled Health and School Outcomes During Children’s Transition into Adolescence (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3552248/). The article describes the transition as a stressful situation that can have a negative impact on school outcomes. In addition, Dr Forrest and his team found that some health conditions can effect school outcomes. Some typical health issues that should be checked include:

  • dental health;
  • colds and allergies;
  • sleeping difficulties; and
  • diet issues or eating difficulties.

Build a support system

It is normal for your son to be nervous at the start of high school. However, building a strong support system while he establishes new friendships will help him significantly in his transition. A support system will help to build his resilience and may include:

  • family support through parents, siblings and cousins;
  • supportive relationships with adults, including family friends; and
  • involvement and friendships in community groups such as Scouts or charities.

Whilst attending orientation days and organising your son for high school are obvious ways to support him in his transition, don’t forget his mental and physical health. Add visits to the dentist, GP or therapist to the list along with purchasing uniforms and stationery. Good health may just shield him from the potentially negative effects of transitioning to high school and adolescence, and help in providing him with a bright and successful future.

Download The Scots College Prospectus and help your son realise his academic potential.

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