Essential guide to transitioning to high school for parents and kids

Parentline and Kids Helpline, services of yourtown, have combined forces to compile a free, virtual information resource for families whose children are transitioning from primary school to high school.

The resource is designed to inform parents and carers on topics areas from both the parent and child perspective – aiming to alleviate anxieties around starting high school, as well as develop child/parent connection and encourage open communication.

Transitioning to high school – a resource for parents

“One of the reasons why we wanted to take the multi approach of talking to both young people and their parents is that it’s not just the young kids that are transitioning to high school. It is also time of significant change for parents,” says Kimberley Harper, Parentline Manager. “Parents need to be self-aware that this is going to be hard for them too!”

From a parenting perspective, the transition to high school is a pivotal change in a child’s life.

“Many parents worry about how best to support their kids through this change,” says Kimberley. “These concerns are perfectly normal, and this resource is designed to answer those worries.”

Why is high school different for parents?

High school is the first obvious space where a parent’s job of setting up kids as independent, resilient adults becomes reality.

“Transitioning to high school is really that first phase where we have to figure out the balance between what support we provide and what our kids can independently do,” says Kimberley. “When do we jump in and catch them, and when do we actually take a step back.”

Any transition is going to have some hiccups, and it’s perfectly normal for parents to seek guidance and support as their child is starting high school. After all, there are many parents going through the same pressures and worries!

“When in doubt, reach out and get some help, even if it’s just to ask a simple question,” Kimberley advises. “Parentline is a completely free service so you can jump onto the WebChat or pick up the phone and chat with a qualified counsellor. It’s perfectly normal to want advice or just a second opinion at this time.”

Starting high school – support for kids

As well as being rolled out to parents, Kids Helpline is running a Transition to High School module for schools as part of their Kids Helpline @ School program.

“Teachers know starting high school can be a cause of significant stress for students. They are at the forefront of providing support for them and to be able to help make that transition to high school as smooth as possible,” says Georgia King, Kids Helpline at School Team Leader.

“Therefore, putting these resources in the classroom where a counsellor can encourage safe, open and inclusive discussions as a class is hugely beneficial.”

KidsHelplineAtSchool-transition to high school

Kids Helpline @ School, supported by Bupa Foundation, is a free early intervention program for primary schools in Australia that connects primary school classrooms to a Kids Helpline counsellor at no cost to the school. Conducted via a video link, these evidence-informed lessons are educational, interactive and fun. They may also include scenarios or videos to engage students in problem solving.

Transitioning to High School is just one of the many topics available in this program. Others include online safety, managing emotions, coping strategies for COVID-19, and more.

Schools can book a Kids Helpline @ School session here.

 

More than simply starting high school

The start of Year 7 falls amidst many other things happening in our kids’ lives right now. All which can affect their transition to high school.

“As well as starting high school, there’s lots of other things that are going on for our kids at this time,” says Georgia.

“Potentially you’ve got the beginnings of social media, adolescent changes, and friendship groups shifting.”

A child’s level of responsibility also shifts up a gear.

“Kids might start catching the bus, and they will be responsible for organising their own day. All of these things combined can be potentially quite overwhelming for everyone involved,” Georgia says.

“If your child is feeling overwhelmed and struggling to verbalise their concerns to you, encourage them to contact Kids Helpline – via phone or WebChat – where they can talk to a Kids Helpline counsellor about any worries they have,” Georgia says.

 

Transitioning to high school video resource

With so much to navigate, it’s no surprise that this yourtown (the people behind Kids Helpline and Parentline) Transition to High School video resource is already being used by so many families and schools.

The panel-like discussions are split across 5 videos, each focusing on a specific topic, you can view them all below:

1. Wellbeing and Mental Health

 

2. Responsibilities and Commitments

 

3. Social Networks and Connections

4. Relationships and connection between children and parents

 

5. What the transition looks like and who can help

Prefer to listen to the videos in the car with the kids?

Listening to podcasts in the car with the kids is a great way to spark a conversation. If you prefer to consume your information that way, here are the audio files!

 

Transition to high school audio 1       Transition to high school audio 2       Transition to high school audio 3       Transition to high school audio 4       Transition to high school audio 5

 

Remember, Parentline is a completely free service, and can be accessed via WebChat or phone – 1300 30 1300. Needing help navigating this parenting journey is perfectly normal… so don’t hesitate to reach out if you need a little advice.

Kids Helpline is also there for your children 24/7 for any reason and it’s free via WebChat, phone 1800 55 1800 or email.


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Written by Angela Sutherland

After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music.

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