Top tips to help you prepare your kids for secondary school
It’s a big step going from primary to secondary school. It can be both exciting and terrifying for kids and parents. The long summer holidays are a great opportunity for preparing your child for secondary school. Here are our top tips:
Plan the journey
Plan how they’re going to get to school - do a dry run at the time they would usually have to make their way to school to make sure they have plenty of time.
If they have to catch a bus, make sure they know the bus number, where it leaves from, the route and time it takes.
It’s also a good idea if they know what to do if their bus is cancelled or delayed and they need to find an alternative way to get to school on time.
Get kitted up
Read through the list of requirements with your child. This is a good way of getting them prepared for a new environment with new rules.
Organise the uniform early to avoid a last minute rush. It’s a good idea to go for a slightly bigger size (but don’t add the labels until just before in case you need to return anything) as kids often have a summer growth spurt in the school holidays!
Checking early means you won’t be in danger of forgetting something you didn’t consider such as a dedicated gym kit bag or educational support items.
It can be daunting going to a new school but even more so going from primary to secondary education. They will probably be in a larger school, with more rules and new children.
Open up a discussion with your child so they can talk through any concerns or worries they may have. Remind them that everyone's in the same boat and will also be feeling nervous and will want to make new friends.
Give them tips on how to open up conversations if they find this difficult. Suggest they ask some simple questions such as what school did other children come from or what their favourite film is to break the ice.
Look at what clubs are on offer at school. Clubs are a great way of meeting new friends and settling in to school life.
Talk it though
Be open. Start talking about the move to secondary school well in advance and not the week before they’re due to start! Ask them if there’s anything they’re worried about or if they have any questions about secondary school.
Speaking about these things well in advance and throughout the summer holiday will help to reassure children ahead of their first day.
Many schools organise an induction day before the new school year. Check the school website for this or any other social events they might organise. This is a great way for kids to build some familiarity with the new environment and possibly make new friends before they start.
Be organised. Make sure you have your timetable and can get prepared the night before with PE kits etc. Same goes for homework. Have a homework diary so you don’t have a last minute panic - or worse!
Get them into a good sleeping routine at least a week before school starts. We know bedtimes can slip a bit during the summer holidays and it’s important to get them adjusted back into the standard routine before they go back to school. Start easing the earlier bedtimes in and even instigate some morning routines so you’re not dragging them out of bed on the first day.
Start giving them more responsibility at home in the summer holidays to prepare them for the beginnings of more independence. This will also build their confidence.
Tips from our team!
Justin Mahoney, our CEO, recalls what he did to prepare his child for secondary school:
We talked about the importance of making new friends given only a handful were joining her from her primary school
I prepared her for the ramp up in homework given in secondary school and how important it was to plan time for this around her swimming commitments
I mentioned how the ‘colour’ of the language some of the other students might start using may be different when she gets to big school, but that didn’t mean she had to copy or join in!
We reminded her to take good decisions when it comes to food, given it’s the first time they really get control over what they eat
We spoke openly about social media / whatsapp / snapchat etc in a lot more detail as she didn’t really have access to these when in Primary
Karen Baynes, our Director, shares how she's helping her daughter get ready for the transition this year:
Talking to her about the fear of the unknown
Discussing any rumours she's hearing about from her friends older siblings
Getting all the right uniform. The school have sent a detailed list of required items and regulations for things such as bags and shoes
Printing out the timetable well in advance of the new school year
Helping her to keep in touch with her friends who will be going to secondary school with her over the summer holidays
Arranging to walk to and from school with a friend on their first day
We hope it all goes smoothly if your kids are going up to ‘big school’ this year.
If you have any tips, share them with us in the comments below.