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Starting high school is a big milestone in a child’s life. With the transition from a primary school that has one or two classes per year to high school that has multiple classes. It can be somewhat daunting and a little overwhelming at times. However, soon they will be finding their feet.
Roo started her second year of high school at the beginning of the month. With her first year under her belt, I thought it would be good to share with you the things that we’ve learnt from the first year.
For the first year, I bought everything that was on the school uniform list (as you do as a newbie high school parent). However, as the second year came around I have some tips for you…
- Shirts – only purchase the shirts that your child is likely to wear. I bought both long and short sleeve shirts. However, Roo does like to wear long sleeves so the long sleeve shorts have remained unworn in her wardrobe.
- Jumpers – a school jumper is optional at our high school as they were blazers all year round. But school jumpers are there to offer that extra level of warm. Don’t bother, it’s not cool to wear a jumper and apparently teenagers don’t feel the cold.
- Coats – a lightweight waterproof jacket is better than a coat so that they don’t walk around in a wet blazer all day. The chances are they won’t have a locker to put a coat into for the first weeks (or in Roo’s case she got one at the end of June!). Plus teenagers apparently don’t feel the cold.
- Sportswear – granted Roo is a particularly sporty child so this may not apply to everyone. However, for the sake of not being the smelly child in class two lots of sportswear is best. Wash one, wear one philosophy – assuming that they bring it home or get it out of their bags for you to wash.
- Footwear – throughout primary school, you can usually get away with persuading your child which would be the better shoes. Not so much once they have started high school, however, if they are attending transition days before starting (usually July time) then check out what others are wearing. A good pair of shoes that will survive the walk to school and hopefully the year is a must. When it comes to trainers this opens up a can of worms. With a generic pair of black trainers working well for most of the sporting events. In Roo’s case, she also needs white trainers for performing arts but you can get some fantastic dupe trainers so don’t go out spending a fortune.
It’s easy to think that heading off to school is all about the school uniform and in part you are right. However, once they reach high school it becomes about the other school essentials and accessories that go with day-to-day school days.
- Bags, bags, bags – when I was at high school (many moons ago) I had one bag, which housed everything I needed. Nowadays, it depends on what day of the week it is. With a tote-style handbag for everyday use, the perfect arm accessory. Offering both style and substance by carrying all the folders and food they’ll need for the day ahead. However, on more sporty days or ones with computing then a backpack which can carry a laptop or has the additional space to carry sportswear is a must-have.
- Extra activities – Roo takes part in a number of performing arts activities and whilst her sportswear would be good enough to wear, it is apparently not cool. So the addition of a tracksuit is really useful. We’ve found that tracksuits are perfect for her to wear at rehearsal over her leotards and between performances.
- Let’s keep hydrated – a good water bottle that can withstand bring bash around in their bags, dropped on the floor and knocked over at sports is essential. After trial and error with have found that a metal water bottle works best.
- Lunchables – Whilst there is a whole range of foods available within the school canteen it is sometimes easier (for cost, picky eaters and school schedule) for them to take a long a packed lunch. Gone are the days of cute lunch bags, now is the time for lunchboxes that are simple, do the job and don’t take up a lot of room in their bag (but must hold ALL the food!).
High school offers a whole new avenue of activities and clubs to get involved with. Which for the most part is amazing, they are able to access new things they might not have tried before or the option to perfect and continue activities that they know and love. However… it is easy to sign up for one or two things and then it snowballs into others.
Roo loves both sports and performing arts activities, however, there is often a conflict between the two. Which results in her having to choose between which activity feels most important at the time. This year she is Sports Captain so she is much more aware that she needs to manage her activities and not to over-schedule herself.
It’s not just the practical things
Whilst I might be looking at the more practical things within this post, it’s also important to focus on their emotions and wellbeing. Moving up to high school is a big step which places them in a new environment, with more people, more things required of them as well as the changing and shifting of friendships. Be sure to check-in, offer a listening ear without jumping in to save the day and have their favourite treat available on days when things are a little too overwhelming.