Your child has finally done and passed their PSLE and now heading to another milestone in their life: transitioning to secondary school.
When a child enters secondary school, everything changes. From the school they have to attend, the subjects they will study to the classmates they will interact with, everything is new.
For some, this change can be exciting. They will get to learn new things and meet new people. Their school is also new, opening new places to explore and learn about.
Others may find it challenging to work with.
Some children may even find themselves lost in a new environment, especially if they do not know anyone in their new school. The workload is also double than their primary school workload. There is also the introduction of various co-curricular and school activities.
Given all these new things and expectations, your child may react differently on their first week even their first month in secondary school. So, what can you do?
What Role Can You Play?
Parents definitely have a major role during their child’s transition to secondary school. As your child now enjoy their independence and freedom, they will still need your support and approval on certain things.
You must always be available to talk to your kids and give them the support they need. Your support means a lot to their teenage development.
How can you help your child cope with transitioning to secondary school?
If your child feels nervous about moving up to secondary school, there are ways you can help them cope.
Here are some tips you can do to help them:
1) Be prepared
Whenever you are facing something new, it is prudent you prepare yourself as much as you can and be prepared for anything.
In this case, help your child know everything that they need to know about their secondary school. Learn about the subjects they will take, what school materials they will need and where their classes will take place.
If your child is not ready for their classes, they will get embarrassed and feel humiliated in front of their peers. Likewise, if they are ready and come to their classes prepared, they will feel confident.
You can also speak to your child’s Primary 6 teacher if they can help your child prepare for their move to secondary school. Ask them to allocate a special lesson on the importance of PSLE and a question and answer session on the secondary school curriculum.
You can also bring your child to secondary school open houses.
Through these events, your child can see for themselves what their future schools would be like. If they haven’t decided on the school, they can use the event to shortlist the schools they like.
2) Listen to your child
Unlike when they were in primary school where your child wants you to stay with them on their first day, your teen won’t ask you to do that this time. But, they will feel nervous and anxious about their feelings and uncertain about how to deal with it.
When you see your child feeling uncertain, reach out to them and give them emotional support.
Ask them about their first day and listen without comment or judging. If you judge or criticize their actions throughout the day, your child will no longer talk to you about their school day.
If you listen and let them rant, your child will feel that they can speak with you and seek your help. Give them constructive advice when they asked.
Don’t know where to start your talk? Start by asking about their new school campus, teachers, classes and their classmates. Did they make any new friends?
3) Talk about the boundaries
Once your kid steps into Secondary School, they will be more independent. I remembered how it was when I entered Secondary School, I felt totally grown up and ready to shed my child-like image.
For some, this new found freedom can be thrilling and others may not know how to manage it alongside their responsibilities. But, if we restrict them too much, they won’t be able to grow and learn on their own.
Before your child enters Secondary School, it is important you set the boundaries they need to follow.
These boundaries will give them an idea about your expectations from them. It also helps them develop their own values and set their character.
Here are some examples of boundaries you can set with your soon-to-be teenagers:
– What time should they have to be back home?
– What is expected of them as a student?
– What responsibilities will they do at home? (ex. what chores should they do, who will take care of their siblings, etc.)
– Your permission is necessary if they want to go out after school or during weekends.
– What restrictions they have to follow when they use social media?
– Your child’s personal privacy when they are home or when they are online
Speaking from my experience, teenagers are notorious for testing their boundaries, and sometimes, break them. They are learning the scope of their freedom and they will definitely test your patience. I did test my parents’ patience a lot when I was a teenager as well.
As they grow older, you can adjust these boundaries and the rules accordingly. Of course, don’t set too many boundaries because it might be possible you cannot enforce them all.
It is also important to ask them about their opinion about your rules or boundaries.
Your child must know the conditions on when certain boundaries or rules could be bent depending on the situation they are in. If you do not give them any leeway, they will likely ignore your set boundaries.
Secondary school is a very big milestone not just for kids, but also for parents. Your child is now a teenager and now learning their way around a bigger world. We must help them transition to their new school environment as much as we can.
If children are briefed early and supported throughout the transition process, they will find it easy to adjust. If they are not, the first day will be a struggle for your child and may affect their entire secondary school experience.
I hope that the tips I gave above can guide you in this journey. Best of luck and enjoy every moment of this newest milestone in your child’s life!
For Secondary school related articles, these may interest you:
Changes to Direct School Admission Exercise for Secondary Schools in 2019
Secondary School Rankings: Pick the Right Secondary School