How can you help your child with the move?
Have you ever heard parents say, ‘I’m just really worried. I don’t think he’s going to cope.’
Transition to secondary school is undoubtedly one of the most tumultuous times in a child’s academic journey. It’s akin to an adult experiencing a house move or a marriage in many ways – times that are well known to cause anxiety-induced panic in the most ‘stable’ of grown-ups! Here are some top tips to support the move and independent skills.
1. Encourage Independence
Students will face a brand new world as far as school is concerned. All of a sudden they have to bring their books and stationery to each lesson, keep track of their possessions, have a different uniform and order their own lunch.
- Try to get your child to have a go at making breakfast or ordering their own food in a restaurant.
- Ensure that they are packing their own bag for school.
- Have the children set their own alarms for the morning (Maybe try this at the weekend first!).
2. Explore Surroundings
Chances are, the secondary school your child is going to is near to their current school. Try to familiarise your child with the walk to the school or bus journey, the surrounding area if you can, and have a look around the inside of the school as well!
- Talk to your child about their home time arrangements early. Will they be walking, on the bus or picked up?
- If they’re walking, try the route several times in the summer before they start – the more familiar, the better!
- If they are on a bus, practise the route several times in the holidays, letting your child try it on their own just before they start.
- Get in contact with the school, many are happy to arrange tours whether in groups or individually.
3. Embrace Change
It’s no use pretending that nothing will change – it has to! The more that we talk about the changes that the children are to expect then the less daunting they seem. No one overly likes change – it doesn’t stop it from happening. Instead, excite the minds of your children by letting them know all the incredible new things they’ll be able to try!
- Have a sit-down conversation with your child. Talk about how they have to walk around the school, how they’ll have lots of different teachers, how their form will consist of lots of students they don’t know.
- Explain that there may be some things they don’t feel too comfortable with. They will hear unfavourable language and they will be expected to hold new standards of attendance and behaviour. Prepare them early.
- If you’re worried, make contact with the Head of Year 7. As a HOY (head of year) myself, I do welcome parents telling me their concerns because I’m then able to put things in place to help the child settle in.
Transition can cause undue stress in our children but it’s also an experience that will broaden their minds and catapult them into the next stage of their academic life. For most, it’s the time of their life they go through the biggest changes.
The biggest transition issues we see in secondary year 7s, are with students who have had very little responsibility prior to coming.
So get them ready now, let’s set them up for success! For more parental support blog posts, click here.