How to help your son prepare for Year 7
Year 7 marks the transition from primary to secondary school and is a significant event in the life of every boy.
This is a time of enormous changes – cognitive, physical, social and emotional.
At this stage of their education, boys experience new challenges. In secondary school, they need to know where they are going around the school, use a timetable to get to different lessons, meet new teachers, fit into a larger peer group, plan how to prioritise their homework and get their appropriate equipment ready.
For many boys, remembering all this information can be overwhelming. Here are some practical ideas for you to help him feel secure and engaged in his new learning environment.
Build a relationship with the school
Access and read the weekly newsletter, which will give an insider’s view of the life of the school. Make sure you download the school’s parent communication app so you can keep on top of day to day operational information. Getting to know your son’s teachers and year level co-ordinator will help you keep track of his progress
Plan the route
Make sure your son is familiar with any new travel arrangements. Very often the move to secondary school means travelling further to and from school on public transport. Try out a test run with him during the holiday period.
Get set before day one
Organise school uniform (but be mindful that your son will grow), school books and stationery. Deciding on a suitable study space can help him be on track from day one. Help your son to develop good organisational skills. Encourage him to pack his bag each night for the next day, and resist the temptation to do it yourself!
Encourage good learning habits
Help your son to develop effective learning habits. Work out a daily timetable that incorporates all his activities and interests. A homework and study planner can help him mark out key dates and when assignments are due. Explain that while your son is responsible for his learning, you as parents want to be involved and look forward to hearing about his day.
Suggest friendship strategies
Once he has started Year 7, encourage your son to join in school activities as this is a great way to make new friends with similar interests. Remind him that everyone is in the same situation as him as a small fish in a big pond and that a friendly smile and hi will be welcome. Many schools have a buddy system that he can be involved in.
Sleep and nutrition matter
Understand that change can be tiring. Try to make sure he eats well, gets plenty of physical activity and gets plenty of sleep. As they become more independent (and tend to stay up later) teens’ sleep can be harder for parents to track. Developing open, honest communication with teens about sleep can make a big difference.
Be there for him
It is important that he can come to you and raise any concerns he may have. Listen to your son and be aware he may have some concerns about his changing environment and social groups. This is to be expected. Contact the school for strategies to help manage these changes.
Preparing for the transition from Year 6 to Year 7 can seem daunting, but with some careful planning from home and at school, it doesn’t have to be.
Scott Davies is Head of Transition and a Year 7 English and Humanities teacher at Brighton Grammar School, an all-boys school in Melbourne. This article is about Parenting
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