Transitioning Your Tween to High School

Transitioning to high school is one of life’s significant rites of passage. It can be exciting, nerve racking, overwhelming and rewarding – all at the same time – for both parents and students. It is a time of new challenges, new goals and new experiences.

Tips and tricks to help make the transition smoother:

Involve your tween in transition programs that your new high school may offer. This is extremely beneficial in building relationships before they enter high school. It can also help with those first day worries about not knowing anyone.

Over the school holidays, sleep routines usually end up with late nights (and even later mornings!). It is important around the last week of school holidays that the routine is shifted back to what they will experience back at school. Moving a sleep routine normally has to happen slowly with moving bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night.

The first week of school is busy! Having a clear pick up spot helps to reduce the anxiety in your Year 7 student. Given how much new information they retain, it is also helpful to have this written in their diary or in their lunch box so that they can refer to it if they forget during the day.

Schools are hectic places. Help your tween stay organised by colour coding subject areas. This can be extremely useful when trying to find your books quickly in your locker. If your school uses a diary, having the subjects highlighted in the same colour in their timetable is also really helpful. In general, having a timetable in their diary, taped to the inside of their locker (if permissible) and also at home helps with organisation.

High school may mean young people are using lockers for the first time. If you can, try and buy the lock for the locker before the first day of school to allow your child to practise. Some schools have the Year 7 students attend a day before the other grades. This allows them the time and space to learn their way around the school and to orientate them to lockers, classrooms and other school processes without all the other students around. Check and see if the high school your child is attending has a peer support program.

Schools with Defence Transition programs as well as Indigenous and Multicultural Support programs may also be important to your family.

Remember – young people find it hard sometimes to tell you if they are feeling anxious, nervous or excited. Instead, they may communicate through their behaviour. If you are concerned about how your child will transition or is transitioning then speak to your chosen high school to develop a plan.


About the Author

Dannielle Charge is a registered Psychologist and School Counsellor at Ignatius Park College. She has worked with children, young people and their families for over 20 years in health and education settings.