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10 tips to prepare your child for secondary school

Reading time: 3.9 minutes

Moving up to Year 7 is a milestone in every child's life. I certainly remember my last day at primary school and the first at secondary! The summer holidays in-between were a long run up to the great unknown.

These days the 'transition' is much carefully thought out, and it's highly likely your child will have made many trips to their chosen school already, engaged with staff and pupils, and even participated in several lesson.

However, any change can still be traumatic, so with that in mind, here are 10 tips on how to help prepare your child for the transition from primary to secondary school:

1-Talk to your child and listen to any concerns they might have. They may be worried about getting lost and unable to find the next classroom. They could go to the school office or ask a teacher. Be positive and enthusiastic about the transition to secondary school. Your child is more likely to look forward to their first day without too much anxiety if you stay positive. This is especially important if the school they will be going to was not your first choice. 

2-A lot of secondary schools offer orientation events for new pupils. This offers a good chance to have a look at the facilities and meet the teachers. 

3-Do you know any parents or neighbours who already have children attending the school? It can be an excellent idea to introduce your child to older children so they will have a friend to look out for during the first few days at the new school. 

4-During the summer holidays have a trial run of the route to school. If they miss the bus, talk to your child about what they should do. Likewise, if you are unable to get away from work and can't pick them up on time. 

 5-Involve your child and get prepared in plenty of time. This might involve taking your child 'school shopping' and getting their stationery items, uniform, train or bus passes etc. I recall being VERY excited during that phase.

6-No doubt, during the summer holidays, bedtime will be a lot later than usual and getting up in the mornings will also be a late lazy affair! To avoid giving a shock to the system, during the last week of the summer holidays wake up early as if it was a school day.

7-Help your child become more responsible. Get them into the habit of checking their school timetable and getting everything ready for the next day. For example, on Thursdays they may need their PE kit. Having a homework board and activity schedule on the wall can help with this. Children aren't quite as 'coddled' during their secondary years as they might be at primary. Make sure they pick up the right habits from the start.

8-Consider any changes you may need to make at home to ensure there is space and peace and quiet for homework to be done without distractions. You may want to set homework times- before dinner for example. A dedicated desk for your child's room can be a game-changer.

9-Take a look around the school's website and encourage your child to do the same. It's a good way to become familiar with the layout, after school activities, lunchtime clubs and how to get a swipe card for the canteen or keys for the lockers.

10-Encourage your child to join lunchtime clubs or participate in after-school activities. This is a fabulous way for them to make new friends with the same interests.

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