What To Expect When Your Child Is Starting High School

There are several large milestones in your child’s life, and starting high school is one of them. It’s a big change, and you may notice some differences in the first few weeks of school. If you know what to expect, it can help you to support them, and help make their transition easier.


child highschool




One big difference you might notice is that your child may be incredibly tired when they get home for the first few weeks. This is completely normal and is to be expected as they are experiencing and learning lots of new things. You might also notice that your child is more affectionate, or they could be the opposite and need more personal space.

It can help if you establish a routine and stick to it. Even though your child may feel more grown up now that they’re a high school student, a routine and a clear bedtime is helpful as they adjust to the differences at school.




At primary school your child may have had very little homework. High school will more than likely have much more homework, and this will be an adjustment. In the first few weeks of school, the school may state how many hours they expect students to spend on homework and study. This can make your child feel overwhelmed or anxious.

You can help support your child by making sure that they get organised as quickly as possible. This may be that you set up somewhere appropriate for them to study and give them a timetable for homework. You might need to help them break larger pieces of homework down into smaller, more manageable pieces. You could also talk to the school and ask if they have study or homework timetables to help their students manage the increase in workload.


More Things To Remember


Your child will have more things to remember for high school than they had for primary school. There will be more subjects, more teachers, and the school building itself will probably be bigger. You child might feel nervous or overwhelmed about having to be in certain classes at specific times and having to bring specific textbooks or equipment with them.

Feeling organised can help, and if your child is feeling nervous about remembering everything, you can prepare before term starts.

  • You might be able to find a map of the school on their website, so your child can learn the layout. When they have their timetable, it might help if you colour code it, and include a corresponding colour coded map.
  • Make sure your child has a distraction-free study area at home.
  • Make a homework routine for weekdays that allows for free time.
  • Make a visual timetable or list so your child knows what to take to school on any given day.


Extra-Curricular Activities


High schools tend to offer more extra-curricular activities. With a wider range of activities, your child may find something to interest them. Encourage your child to be open to trying new experiences and different activities. It can enhance their high school experience and it’s also a good way to make new friends.


Different Stresses


High school brings with it different stresses and anxieties compared to primary school. These can include:

  • Friendships – Meeting new people and finding new friends can be stressful. Your child may also be trying to balance old friendships with new ones. You can’t manage their friendships for them, but you can keep an open dialogue, and offer advice to encourage their confidence in making new friends.
  • Emotional and physical changes – As well as transitioning to high school, children at this stage are also going through puberty. This brings a whole host of emotional and physical changes on its own. Keep an eye on your child’s self-esteem and confidence.
  • The future – Transitioning to high school can sometimes prompt and trigger worries about the future in general. Your child may become worried about things far in the future such as exams, or even college and university. If your child becomes worried about the future, you may want to speak to their tutor and ask them to have a reassuring word. Sometimes, especially for academic worries, reassurance from a tutor can have more impact than reassurance from a parent.