Tips for easing the transition to secondary school

July 14, 2018

Easing the transition to secondary school

 

For year 6 children the thought of moving on to secondary school can be pretty daunting.  Not only are secondary schools often considerably bigger than the primary school they have become used to, there are often lots more rules, many new people to meet, unfamiliar lessons and more homework.  Parents keen to help their children through this tricky transition may find these tips useful:

  • Boost your child’s confidence. When children feel confident and have a healthy level of self esteem, they are better equipped to embrace new challenges, make new friends and are less likely to be bullied. You can boost your child’s confidence in very simple ways – pay them a compliment, allow them a bit more responsibility, remind them of all the fantastic things they have achieved and offer constructive feedback rather than criticism when they fail at anything. Encourage them to try new things and to keep persevering with things even if they don't get it right straightaway. Praise effort over achievement (as per the Growth Mindset Model)
  • Help them to problem solve their fears. Your child may be worried about the most trivial details of secondary school like where the toilets are, how they are going to carry all their kit bags into school, what will they eat for lunch, what if they get lost walking between lessons? Rather then trivialising these worries or telling them they are not important, spend time listening to them and encouraging your child to come up with a set of solutions to these problems. By all means offer suggestions based on your personal experiences, but allow your child to take the lead on this one. Encourage HOW thinking which is solution focussed, rather then WHY thinking which is problem focussed. For example instead of "Why is the school so big, with so many corridors that look the same?!" encourage them to think "How can I make sure I find my way around the school? Maybe I could draw a map, find someone who know their way around to help me or spot useful signs or objects along the way to help remind me."
  • Practice the school run route. This could be either the car or bus route or walking or cycling route. Make sure that they are familiar with landmarks along the way so they don’t get lost or miss their stop. Make sure you have plans for when you may not be able to pick them up, or if you’re running late.
  • Get up earlier during the last week of the holidays so that early starts for school aren't a shock to the system.
  • Stick to the uniform code.Your child will feel more comfortable from day one if they are not worried about being told off about having the wrong uniform.
  • Think about any changes you might need to make at home so they have the time, space and energy for homework. This could be having a set time for homework each day, making sure that there is adequate desk or table space for homework to be done, making sure there is a room which is quiet and free from distractions of TV, other siblings or excessive noise. Include your child in these changes and ask their opinions to gain greater buy in. Remember it is often the small changes that make a big difference.
  • Encourage them to join lunchtime or after-school clubs. They are a great way to make friends and get to learn new skills. Be careful not to over schedule though and make sure they have some down time during the week.
  • Give your child a few weeks to settle in.Ensure you know who to contact for any situation, and the school's preferred means of contact. If they are having any problems, social or educational, make an appointment to see their form tutor.

 

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This post was written by Beth Parmar