Sending the kids off to secondary school is a huge landmark. Moving from the small, safe, and familiar world of primary school to the big halls (and bigger kids) of a secondary can be overwhelming for some parents let alone their children! Once you’ve taken some time to come to terms with the fact that your little ones aren’t so little any more, here are some ways to help them prepare too.
Attend Open Days
As any of life’s natural worriers will recognise, the unknown is often the scariest. Kids have a lot to take in during their first year at secondary school and not knowing what they’re walking into can add to that stress. If you can, attend their future school’s open day or take them on a visit so they can have a look around. Just getting an idea of the layout of the halls or the way the buildings look can help to put their minds at rest.
Encourage Self Discipline
Each progression up the education ladder leads to a little less hand-holding than children might have been used to at their last school. Good self discipline is therefore an important skill to establish early. Before they begin secondary school, help your children work on their organisational skills and start building a routine that will be helpful to them when they start.
Try a Little Bribary
If your little one is very nervous about starting at a new school, helping them to turn that anxiety into excitement is key. If all else fails, take them shopping for some fun back to school goodies like fun stationery or some cool new school shoes. Not only will they start to look forward to using their new things, it will also subconsciously help them to feel a little more prepared.
Don’t Over-Do It!
That all being said, transitioning to big kid school is all about letting children find their own feet and build their independence. If you make too much of a fuss you could increase their anxiety, smothering them won’t encourage them to work out their problems for themselves. There are ways to be supportive without taking over; if they’re struggling with homework, ask them questions that help them think through problems rather than just giving them the answers. If they’re having issues in a particular class, don’t march in and speak to the teacher but encourage your child to speak to the teacher themselves. Solving these little problems on their own will be a huge boost to your child’s confidence and will help them to feel more in control as they begin this new phase of their life.