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Tips for Parents. Ten Tips to help prepare Students for High School.

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ten tips to help prepare students for high school
Ten Tips to help prepare Students for High School

Entering high school is an exciting time for students. They are moving into what is often a larger school environment. This can lead to anxiety or periods of unease. Here are some steps parents and caregivers can take to help students start high school on a positive note.

Be interested and enthusiastic about their move to high school.   Your encouragement will help your child to make a successful transition to High School. Listen to their experiences and expectations. Don't dwell on your own experiences of school.   

Attend the High School Orientation Day   If your child will be entering high school then keep a look out for the orientation days which high schools hold in Term 3 and 4. These days are designed to help parents and their children prepare for starting high school. Some children, because of pressure from their peers, will try to discourage their parents from attending orientation days. Being there will help you understand your child's experiences better. Also keep a look out for other events at your child's prospective school which may help him/her learn about what high school is like.   

Make sure travel arrangements to and from school are organised.   Who is picking them up? What bus do they take? Talk about back-up travel arrangements, for example, what to do if a bus doesn't come.   

Discuss the changes every student will experience.Emphasise that many people feel apprehensive about changing from a small primary school to a larger high school, and that there will be people to help them adjust.   

Organise your child's uniform well before the first day of school.   Having the new uniform will help your child start to feel a sense of belonging to the school.   

Learn about school routines and timetables.   Talking to student already enrolled at the school can be useful in finding out information about things such as sporting venues used by the school and school finishing times. The school will provide information before it's needed.   

Help your child to develop good study habits.   Try to provide them with somewhere private and quiet to study. Help your child to set aside a particular time to study. Work out a daily timetable that incorporates all your child's needs and interests. Regularly viewed TV programs, club activities and sport should all be part of the timetable. Ultimately they will need to manage their own study and they can guide you in what is helpful for them.   

Practiseorganisational skills.   In the first few weeks of high school you might want to check with your child that they have the right books for the following day. You will quickly encourage a good habit.   

Discuss emergency and safety issues.   Talk about these issues - including crossing roads or taking essential medication - simply and without emotion. Allow your child to contribute their views. Find out who the staff are at the school who can help them if they need it on issues such as medication.   

Let your child know that you trust them and that they can trust you.   Keep communication open about all your child's experiences, and make sure they know you're available if things go wrong.  

how to stay motivated at school
How to stay motivated at school

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg PhD MAPS

The latest research reveals some surprising findings about how parents can help their kids study better

Sleep - research reveals that this is the most important study tool going around. All students need at least 9.25 hours as long-term memory is consolidated during stage 4 sleep and the master molecule of mood (serotonin) is replenished which is why when you don't get enough sleep you wake grumpy.

Eating Breakfast - research from the University of Ulster found that students who had nothing to eat for breakfast performed very poorly on test of memory and concentration when arriving at school. Just eating toast boosted their scores. The biggest boost to cognitive powers was from eating toast and baked beans!

Studying at the same time and the same place each day - the research shows that if students can get in a consistent pattern of study their bodies acclimatise

Chewing gum helps with concentration - scientists from the University of Northumbria, in the UK have found  that chewing gum  improves memory by 35% brain performance, because chewing raises the heart beat, which causes more oxygen and nutrients to be pumped into the brain and triggers the production of insulin, which stimulates a part of the brain involved in memory. This is very useful to making the most out of homework and studying for tests, but at home, NOT at school.

Use a kitchen timer - to regulate study time. Study periods should be no more than 50 minute segments and followed by at least a 15 minute break in which students should relax. This study period should be repeated twice.

Sipping water - the brain is 80% water and students who sip water at least every 20 minutes while studying hydrate their brain, improving their ability to focus concentrate and stay motivated when it comes to homework.

Part-time work  - Research from the USA found that students who have up to 15 hours of part-time work a week, perform better at school than those without a job.

Exercise - research has found that students who do 3 lots of aerobic exercise a week perform much better than those who do nothing.

Eat brain food - during the school year, students should eat fish at least three times a week, along with eggs, yoghurt and blueberries all of which have been shown to improve brain function.

the new adolescent
The new adolescent

Today's parents have to acquire a new set of skills to deal with psychologically underdone children, writes Michael Carr-Gregg.

Aman is driving home from a long day at work. He is 40-something, runs a flourishing business and has spent his entire day in a very successful board meeting. As he eases his late-model Mercedes through the traffic, he's feeling quietly satisfied with himself - some important deals sealed and his mood considerably helped by a few drinks in the boardroom afterwards.

As he walks through the front door of his home he hears a noise emanating from the living room and, poking his head around the corner, sees his teenage son with shoes on, feet up on the sofa, watching The Simpsons. The man is at what some adolescent psychologists refer to as "the moment of truth".What will he do next? He could walk over to his son, tousle his hair and fondly say "G'day son, how was your day, what's Homer up to?" But he doesn't. Instead, a voice rises from deep within him, fuelled by a strange mixture of gin and a heritage-listed parenting script, and he strides into the room, glares at his son and utters the seven words guaranteed to elicit a defensive response from any teenager: "William, why aren't you doing your homework?“

William has had a reasonably good day and is in an unusually good mood. Only mildly irritated at the lack of a warm greeting and the provocative question, he chooses to ignore his father's questions and says nothing. He is hoping his silence will be taken as a non-verbal cue - that he does not wish to engage in conversation, as he is clearly engrossed in something far more important to him at the time.

Dad, sadly, doesn't get the hint. He walks a little closer to his flesh and blood and, delving into the what may be extremely obvious to some, asks in a louder voice: "Are you deaf?“ William, more irritated now, sighs and emits a neo-autistic grunt - a further opportunity for his father to back off and take the conversation in a different direction. But now Dad is in the mood for a confrontation, and he walks over to the TV and turns it off. William explodes, gets off the sofa, tells his father to go forth and multiply and in time-honoured tradition storms out of the house slamming the door (for added effect) and yelling to his mother that he's going to his mate's place to watch the rest of the program.

So what went wrong? This man - like millions of his counterparts across Australia - lacks what is known in psychological circles as a "developmental perspective". He needs a new set of skills, knowledge and strategies that parents require in 2004 to parent the "new" adolescent.Back in the good old days, fathers could just stare at their errant offspring and most would be rendered mute and motionless. Today's parents, in contrast, can look until their face falls off. It is an obsolete parenting technique. So modern parents must discard the old parenting script and learn a new one.

The new script recognises that during adolescence the mind and body undergo tectonic changes. When Dad speaks to William, Dad should remember that William's brain is a work in progress - it will only be fully formed at the age of 23. Dad needs to take into account that he is dealing with a unique species - the adolescent - not a miniature version of himself. But these days, another layer of complexity has been added. Adolescence is now an extended period of vulnerability, starting much earlier and finishing later than ever before. The average age at which puberty hits is now 12 or 13, compared with 16 just a few decades ago. The developmental stages have somehow gotten out of synch.

As puberty occurs earlier, it's no longer in synchronisation with brain development, so adolescent psychologists are often confronted with a young woman, fully physically developed, complete with hipster jeans, flaunting her rebellion on a pierced navel but with the cognitive capacity of a 13-year-old. A souped-up car with all the extras - but the driver has no license. So why should early puberty make life tougher for this generation and expose them to higher rates of depression and anxiety (as reported in a series of investigative articles in The Age this week)? Between childhood and adolescence there is a stage of development that Sigmund Freud called the "latency period". This is a period of reduced sexuality that occurred between about age seven and adolescence - when boys and girls turned their backs on each other and formed special attachments with same-sex peers. It was a time when they gathered physical and psychological strength to explore the world, becoming confident learners and confident socially. They were marshalling their forces to be able to go into puberty.

What we are now seeing is a short-circuiting of the latency period, when young people used to develop a sense of who they were and where they fitted into the world. Today, some young people merely dip their toes into the latency period before a combination of peer pressure, an unrelenting marketing machine and their own physiology lures them into the kaleidoscope of adolescence. Others go straight from Hi-5 to Beyonce, bypassing the latency phase. The result is young people who look and behave much older and who are led to believe they are more suave and sophisticated than they really are. They haven't completed the vital work of latency and their problem-solving and decision-making skills tend to be less well developed.

Combine this with time-poor parents, lack of ritual and tradition, spiritual anorexia, mixed media messages (be sexy - but be good), and higher expectations in terms of material possessions, academic performance and career choices, and the adolescents of 2004 are arguably the most vulnerable generation Australia has ever seen. Many are psychologically underdone. They do not have the capacity to face, overcome or be strengthened by adversity - an important characteristic of previous generations of young Australians. That we are having higher rates of anxiety and depression should come as no surprise. The question is whether the parents of Australia can embrace the new parenting script and find a balance between a culture of entitlement and the authoritarian/bully-boy role of William's Dad.

true love waits
True Love Waits

The Vision: For people to know their own personal worth and for them to realise their purity, regardless of the past, is something of great value and worth saving for their future marriage partner.

True Love Waits Goals: Our main goals are for the youth of Australia to:

Make informed, responsible decisions

unite, speak out and stand together in taking pride in their virginity/secondary virginity

be made aware of the good, positive reasons to wait until marriage

live, experience and find true love in their lives

be given tools to combat the immense pressure to become sexually active

True Love Waits Bumper stickers such as, “Virginity is a disease which can be cured”, and “To all you virgins, thanks for nothing!” are being rejected by youth all over the world. Intimidation and peer pressure have created the impression that virginity is a joke. However, over 1.5 million youth are daring to be different and have joined TLW by signing a pledge card.

How True Love Waits Is PresentedFrom the beginning, TLW has been a grass roots effort that originated and continues to be promoted around the world by courageous teenagers and young adults. TLW sends teams of young people - male and female - to youth groups, churches, schools and universities. Presentations normally take 30-60 minutes depending upon questions (optional) and includes testimonies. All youth (whether they are virgins or not) are encouraged, without pressure, to respond by making a TLW purity pledge. Where there is no TLW base within reasonable travelling distance to your town, we invite youth leaders to present TLW to their own youth groups. Our pledge cards, pamphlets, stickers and “Tips for Presenters” are available to youth groups free of charge.

keeping your kids safe on social networking sites
Keeping Your Kids safe on Social Networking Sites

1.Make sure that computers are in public places in your home -- not the child's bedroom – this can change when older.

2.When your kids are online, do a little "shoulder surfing" from time to time, just so they know you're watching.

3.Check their social networking site profile regularly

4.Ensure they do not post anything that would make it easy for a stranger to find them, such as phone number, address, school, netball team, IM screen name, or specific whereabouts.

5.Never allow them to meet people in person (they have met online), who they do not fully know, unless accompanied by an adult.

6. They should never post anything online that would embarrass them later, particularly photo or info they wouldn't want their parents, teachers, future boss or landlord to see!

7. Set profiles to private and never ever share your passwords with anyone

effective communication with teens
Effective Communication with Teens

"The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face" - Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy The greatest single thing that any parent can do to improve communication with their adolescent son and daughter, is to think about them in a different way. Decide today to stop raising a child, and to start a relationship with a young adult.Early Adolescence - physical changes, Normal anxiety about body shape & growth , sexuality, teasing about appearance, same sex friends, school change, breaking childhood ties more adult thought processes.Middle Adolescence - Family focus shifts to peer focus  Identify with particular forms of music/youth icons, risk taking behaviours common, seek individualisation by spurning adult control & support. Remember caregiver relationships can become most strained, need a guide who can help nourish their uniqueness.Late Adolescence - Time of 'facing up' confront identity crisis used to leave home - some fall into a social abyss seek to define & understand functional role in life relationships based on mutual respect & affection, need help in associating effort with outcome, set clear objectives and plan strategies to achieve what they want.The keys to ultimate success are:

Spend time with them, Keep calm , Don't talk to much and listen more, Keep it short - only 2 sentences at a time, Remind them of what they do well

Use humour - never sarcasm, Set very clear boundaries and have both positive and negative consequences, Only argue over things that matter - let some things go by you

Avoid confrontations or ultimatums, Catch them doing something good, Regularly give them positive feedback, Help them define the problems and options

Do not constantly remind them of past mistakes, Talk while doing something together, Reduce the number of questions or explain why you are asking them

How do you communicate better?

Ask for what you need/want. Others cannot read your mind, so limit your expectation that the other person should be able to guess what you prefer out of their affection for you. The best chance of receiving what you want is to speak up and ask for it. Check out your assumptions. You are no mind reader either. Misunderstandings can arise from acting on what you guess your friend/partner wants.

ConflictRemember healthy families fight. Better out than in.

RESOLVE CONFLICTS -Take the relationship from MY WAY/YOUR WAY to OUR WAY through negotiation and compromise. Start the problem solving by listening to and respecting each other's point of view. Conflicts are more easily addressed when both people participate in the solution, instead of one person dominating the decision making process. Aim for a balance of power.RECIPROCATE -Give equal importance to the feelings, interests, and needs of each person in the relationship. Develop the skill of both giving and receiving emotional support.ENJOY EACH OTHER! - Let good humour and fun together be a part of your regular schedule.The secret of great communication with a young person is to use language that does  not trigger their inherent sensitivity to control issues.

rules for conflict
Rules for Conflict

Pick the right moment for both - cool heads are better

Be conscious of your tone of voice, facial expression, demeanour and body language

Don't over- react or under-react - (good luck!)

Don't accuse insult of talk down - attack the problem

Focus on present situation and what needs to be done

State your feelings (no whining, skip the martyr routine)

Listen attentively and get the facts

Acknowledge teens feelings, experience and point of view

Don't try to control or win (give, take and negotiate)

Arrive at a solution

Rest up for next encounter"Adolescence is perhaps nature's way of preparing parents to welcome the empty nest."Karen Savage and Patricia Adams, The Good Stepmother