*This is a collaborative post
Every year, thousands of 11-year-olds are faced with a prospect of a new school. As their time at primary school ends, a new chapter of their lives is ready to begin. However, starting secondary school can be an exciting but nerve-wracking experience for children. The transition can be overwhelming, from navigating a larger school to meeting new teachers and making new friends. But with a bit of guidance and preparation, the transition into secondary school can be smoother and more enjoyable. Here are five tips to help your child prepare for the transition into secondary school.
Familiarise your child with the new school route
The first step in easing your child into the new school year is familiarising them with the new route to school. If your child is walking or biking to school, they’ll need to know precisely how to get there and back again. If your child is taking public transportation, they’ll need to know the bus or train routes to get to and from school. If you can, try walking or biking to school with your child a few times before the new school year begins. This will help your child get a feel for the new route so that they can walk or bike to school by themselves after school starts. If a bus or train route is available, walk with your child to the bus stop or train station to get a feel for the new route. If you have the time and resources to do so, it might be helpful to take the bus or train yourself at school times with your child to see how long the trip takes. This will help you and your child be prepared for the time it takes to get to and from school, allowing you to adjust this if necessary to reduce the likelihood of being late.
Another choice parents have is to install a tracker app on their phones so they can monitor their day and ensure they are where they are supposed to be at all times. This is especially useful if they are running late or have missed their usual way of getting home. Find out more about what to do when using tracker apps to get the most from them.
Talk about what they can expect when they move to a new school.
Before moving to a new school, make sure you talk with your child about what they can expect when they make the move. For example, talk about the type of rules they can expect to follow, the standards teachers will be expecting as well as practical things such as timekeeping, having all of their books and homework each day, school clubs and anything else appropriate for the school day. This will help them feel more prepared and less anxious about the transition.
Prepare your child for increased workloads.
Preparing for the transition into secondary school can also involve preparing your child for increased workloads. Most secondary schools have significantly more rigorous curriculums than primary schools. As a result, your child will likely work harder and longer during the school year than ever before. To help your child adjust to an increase in workload, you can guide them on how they can make the most of their time and energy throughout the school year. For example, you can talk to your child about managing their time effectively, including getting homework done and setting a good sleep schedule.
Discuss online safety and appropriate behaviour with friends in online groups and chats
Online safety is important to discuss with your child before they transition to secondary school. Your child’s social circle may expand significantly over the course of the school year. As a result, they may spend more time online talking to their friends. This can include talking to friends in online groups and chatting with friends on social media platforms. At this age, your child may be spending more time online, so they must be aware of appropriate behaviour and how to handle inappropriate behaviour.
Instil a sense of confidence in your child
Finally, you can help your child prepare for the transition into secondary school by instilling a sense of confidence in them. This can involve helping your child feel confident in their abilities and in their choice of secondary school. Your child will be experiencing a lot of change as they transition to secondary school. This can make them feel anxious and concerned about their ability to succeed or what will happen next. You can help them feel confident by listening to their concerns, discussing what to expect and reminding them of everything they are good at. Supporting their strengths can give them the confidence to overcome any worries they may have and help ease those first few months of a new term in a new school.
Starting secondary school can be an exciting but daunting experience for children. The transition can be overwhelming with so much going on, from navigating a larger school to meeting new teachers and making new friends. But with a bit of guidance and preparation, the transition into secondary school can be smoother and more enjoyable.