Starting Secondary School, a few tips for parents

August 17, 2018 Family, Tweens
Starting Secondary School

Starting Secondary School

I can’t believe our eldest Grandson will be starting Secondary School in a few weeks’ time.  It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was becoming a Grandma for the very first time.

He’s very excited about starting Secondary School which is wonderful.  But I know that not all kids will be looking forward to it with such enthusiasm.

It’s a big step moving from Primary to Secondary School.  The biggest change will be the amount of responsibility they have to take on for themselves. 

As well as taking on more responsibility they will also be getting used to a much bigger school, different lessons, making new friends, new teachers and possibly even totally new subjects.

They are going to need to be super organised to make sure they take the right books to the right lessons and do the correct homework on then right night and hand it in on time.

Although they need to learn to take responsibility and you shouldn’t be doing it for them you’ll want to give them as much support and help in the first few weeks until they get settled in. 

But remember that doesn’t mean you should be doing it for them.  If you do everything for them they won’t learn to organise themselves.  And, believe me I know sometimes it just feels easier to take over and do it yourself but persevere and they will learn.

How Can You Help Them Make the Transition?

It is a big step starting secondary School but there are a few things that you can do to help them prepare. Here’s my list:

The School Route

It is quite likely that they will be making the journey to school on their own when they start Secondary School rather than you taking them and dropping them off at the school gate. It’s worth having a practice run beforehand so they know exactly where they are going.
If they have friends that live locally they may want to make the journey together so get them to organise where to meet in the morning.
If they have to use public transport be sure they know what to do if the bus or train is late. You may want to consider letting them have a mobile phone. Our Grandson was allowed one when he reached 10 and with todays technology it’s easy to track where he is as well as knowing he can contact us if he needs to.

Uniform

Make sure you buy the uniform in plenty of time.  You don’t want to be running around the day before they start trying to hunt down that elusive jumper.

When they start Secondary School, they will probably need to take a different PE kit to school for different PE lessons so make sure they check their timetable and they know what items they need to take to each lesson.

It’s worth encouraging them to put out their uniform the night before so they have everything ready in the morning and you aren’t all scouring the house for a lost plimsoll or sport sock.

And, don’t forget if they have to wear a tie teach them how to tie it and show them how to get it on and off quickly without fully undoing it.  They will need to be quick when changing for PE lessons.  Get them to practice in the school holidays.

Helping the Settle into secondary School

The new school is likely to be much larger than their Primary School and they will also have to move between classrooms during the day.  Most Schools have a transition day to help the kids familiarise themselves with the School.

If you can get hold of a map of the School from one of the Open Days or download one from the Website that would be really useful to help them familiarise themselves with the layout.

Remember they may be feeling a bit daunted about the idea of having to find their way around the School so have a chat about it with them.  Discuss what they should do if they get lost and reassure them that all their friends will be feeling the same and if they need help they should ask one of the teachers.

Homework

If you thought they had to do a lot of homework at Primary School you’ll soon learn that it was nothing compared to what they will have to do at Secondary School.

Most schools provide children with a weekly planner or diary that contains their school and homework timetable, with a space at the end of each week for the parent and teacher to write notes to each other. Take a couple of extra copies of the timetable and stick it somewhere your child will see it.  Also give them an extra copy of the timetable to keep in their pocket so they can easily check where they need to be.

They are really going to have to be organised with their homework, so it would be really useful for them to have some sort of homework station.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy but just somewhere that they can organise their books.  If they can have their own dedicated desk that would be perfect but obviously not always possible, so a couple of filing boxes would do.

Try not to turn homework into a battle ground.  If they don’t hand it in on time they will soon learn the consequences.  You should be there to support them, but they do need to learn to organise their own time.

A Couple more Tips and a Checklist

It can be an exciting but scary time for them so make sure you talk to them about it.  As with everything I think communication is key so just take the time to chat with them about what they are looking forward to and if there’s anything they’re not looking forward to.

And, lastly have a checklist that they can run through the night before and tick off to make sure they have everything ready for the morning.  It could include homework, PE kit, books needed, library books etc.  Take a look at my Checklist and you can download a free template to fill in for yourself.

Starting Secondary School
Click to download blank checklist

If you’ve got kids starting Secondary School in September I hope they enjoy it.  And, try not to worry, they will be fine just give them lots of support and encouragement.

I’d love to hear about any top tips you’ve got for helping kids move from Primary School to Secondary School

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