Last time, Michelle Choy shares with us some tips on how to better groom your children in preparation for the transition to secondary school, including maintaining their health and choosing the right CCAs. Here is more advice to help you through the tough times.
Tip 5: Help them work out their commute
Commuting to secondary schools can be a more challenging experience, especially for kids who have been riding to school using the school bus for 6 years.
“It could be quite far, which makes commuting alone a real logistical issue,” she added.
It is essential that parents help guide them on the route to school for a few times during the end of the year before school starts so that they will be mentally prepared by the following year. How long your child has to travel and how complicated the route is can make things difficult for him. For example, some of Michelle’s children have to switch from the bus to the train in the middle of the journey before boarding another bus later.
“Taking public transport on their own takes some practice, so it helps to have a parent around at the start, and to guide them home whenever they end up getting lost at a faraway interchange,” she shared.
Tip 6: Communicate with your child
When your children were young, they might be more inclined to talk about how school has been each day and what friends he has made. Once he becomes a teenager, however, puberty hits and they might become more private and keep to themselves.
“When my kids come back from school, they just need their space. They might eat lunch in silence and get over the things that went on in school. I would talk to them at dinnertime or before bedtime instead, it helps to give them some space and time,” she noted.
“However, for other kids, they might need to offload everything that happened once they get home, so the best time to be there for them is at lunchtime. Every child is different.”
It is also essential that, instead of judging, a parent simply listen to them and their problems instead.
“When they say something, we often have a million things to say in response. But when we keep doing that, they will eventually not want to talk to us,” she observed.
Remember: children value respect from parents as well. “Don’t talk down to them. For instance, we shouldn’t always turn away and lament, ‘these teenagers’,” she added.
When it comes to problems they face in school like adjusting to the new environment, it really helps by simply talking to them.
“Help prepare them by walking them through the differences between their previous and current schools in your daily conversations,” Michelle suggested.
Tip 7: Set boundaries
When it comes to teenagers, their yearning for freedom can result in seemingly rebellious behaviour. Parents should resolve this by setting boundaries that are clear, consistent and easy to understand while learning to gradually let go.
“Set clear boundaries and be firm. For example, it is very easy for teenagers to lose themselves in their phones,” she noted, referring to a common issue of constant usage of mobile devices.
So she set a house rule for her teens: All phones have to be placed in the charging docks after dinner.
“If they cross the boundaries, then we’d take away their privileges. They will have to face the consequences of their actions and learn from their mistakes,” she said.
“This way, they will have the autonomy to develop mentally.”
Such discipline might be challenging to deal with at first, but parents can help ease through such techniques by supporting and encouraging your child about the motivation behind your actions. This could help them tide through and perhaps even excel in the new and exciting part of their lives.