Preparing school leavers for Schoolies Week
BY: Sharon Fitness for GOOD.
As the school year comes to an end, the anticipation for Schoolies Week begins. For many graduating high school students, this marks a significant milestone – a rite of passage into adulthood. As parents, it’s natural to feel a mix of pride and concern about your child embarking on this memorable experience. Here’s a guide on how to prepare your school leavers for a safe and enjoyable Schoolies Week.
Open Communication Channels
The foundation for a successful Schoolies Week starts with open and honest communication. Create a safe space for your child to share their plans, expectations, and any concerns they may have. Discuss boundaries, safety measures, and the importance of responsible decision-making.
Set Realistic Expectations
Help your teen set realistic expectations for Schoolies Week. Discuss the potential challenges they might face, such as peer pressure, alcohol consumption, and unfamiliar environments. Encourage them to prioritise their safety and well-being while enjoying the celebrations.
Discuss the importance of personal safety. Remind your school-leaver to stay vigilant, be aware of their surroundings, and look out for their friends. Provide practical tips on how to stay safe, such as using reputable transportation services, keeping belongings secure, and having a buddy system in place.
Encourage Responsible Behaviour
Schoolies Week often involves socialising and partying, and it’s crucial to encourage responsible behaviour. Talk to your child about the potential consequences of excessive alcohol consumption, the importance of knowing their limits, and the dangers of engaging in risky activities.
Plan and Budget
Help your teen plan and budget for Schoolies Week. Discuss financial responsibility, the costs associated with accommodation, meals, and entertainment. This will teach them valuable life skills and help prevent overspending.
Provide Emergency Information
Ensure your child has all necessary emergency information. Provide them with a list of essential contacts, including your number, local emergency services, and any friends or family members they may be with during Schoolies Week. Red Frogs are a visible presence during Schoolies Week, but can be contacted anytime on 1300 557 123, a 24-hour hotline.
Explore Alternative Celebrations
Schoolies Week doesn’t have to revolve around partying. Explore alternative ways to celebrate this transition. Encourage your child to participate in community service, cultural experiences, or outdoor activities that promote positive and memorable experiences.
Stress the Importance of Consent
Discuss the importance of consent and respectful behaviour. Ensure your child understands the significance of obtaining clear and enthusiastic consent in any social interactions. Emphasise the need to respect personal boundaries and to intervene if they witness inappropriate behaviour.
Stay informed about your child’s plans during Schoolies Week. Know the details of their accommodation, the friends they’ll be with, and their general itinerary. This will provide you with peace of mind and enable you to assist if any unexpected situations arise.
Be prepared to offer support post Schoolies Week. Some students may experience a mix of emotions after the celebrations, and having a supportive environment at home can be invaluable.
Rachel Doherty from Tweens 2 Teen offered the following list to discuss with school leavers before they head off to the Goldie:
The five attitudes to talk about before Schoolies Week
There will be lots of decisions for kids to make at Schoolies Week. For some kids, this might be the first time they make adult decisions without mum or dad hovering nearby. Ensure they’ve got their head around these five attitudes before they go:
1. Use your common sense. Most adults take their common sense for granted, but for a teenager, it requires thought. Talk about situations when the choice between doing something fun and doing something sensible might crop up.
2. Look after your mates. Most kids go to Schoolies Week with their friends. If they stay with their friends and keep to the organised activities, they’re likely to have a fantastic time and just come home with lots of washing. Don’t underestimate how much our teenagers need reminding to be a good friend.
3. Accept that the laws is there to protect you, not punish. With the freedom of Schoolies Week, many kids can think it’s a time to test the boundaries of the adult world. Talk about the rules of grown up life. Not drinking alcohol in public places, supplying alcohol to a friend who is under 18 or being smart to a police officer are all topics to touch on before they pack their bags.
4. Cleaning up is a part of life. Teenagers can turn any apartment into a hovel in 5 days. If they do this at Schoolies Week they’ll have a massive clean up at the end to get their bond back. Remind your teens that a little bit of effort every day will keep a space tidy. It should make the leaving as much fun as the arriving.
5. There is always help at hand. The drive to be independent can stop young people from getting help. In all the official Schoolies location they can find people from the Red Frogs, who are there to help. And of course, there’s no shame in calling mum or dad if things go really wrong.
By engaging in open communication and providing practical guidance, you can help ensure that your school leavers embark on a safe, responsible, and enjoyable Schoolies Week. This transitional period can be an opportunity for growth and learning, laying the foundation for a positive start to their adult lives.
For more about Red Frogs and the support services they provide during Schoolies Week, such as their 24 hour hotline, welfare checks, pancake breakfasts, and their mission to provide a positive peer in alcohol-fuelled environments such as Schoolies Week, click HERE.
Feature images: Red Frogs website.