If you are anything like me, the mere thought that you are old enough to have a child who is old enough to start secondary school is more than a little terrifying.
I look at my youngest and can’t believe that the Bear is almost eleven. It seems only seconds ago that she like her little brother was starting nursery.
But the truth is as much as I would dearly like to stick my head in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening. It is and I need to make sure we are both ready for it.
So if your child is starting secondary school this September what can you do to prepare you and them for what will happen?
Practice Wearing The Uniform (And Tying The Tie)
Get your child’s uniform as early as you can and encourage them to spend some time wearing it in the house, the more they wear it the less alien it will feel and the more comfortable they will be on the first day of term.
And I really do mean everything, at primary school – labelled or unlabelled – most things find their way home to their rightful owner. Secondary schools are bigger, young people move around far more and the chances of ever seeing a lost unlabelled item again is virtually nil. With my teacher head I’ve seen the distress this can cause more times than I’d like to remember so making sure you are on top of it really is important.
Once you have their timetable make tick sheets to go on their wall so that they can check the contents of their bag easily the night before. It isn’t a failsafe way of making sure the dog doesn’t eat their homework and their P.E. kit isn’t left under their bed, but a system definitely will help – especially in those early weeks when everything feels far too overwhelming.
Check Their Pencil Case Regularly
As a teacher in any given lesson it’s not uncommon for as many as half the class not to have the equipment they need. Especially in year seven when young people are used to their primary school teachers finding their things for them and staying in one room, the impact of being in six different rooms each day and having no one other than themselves to rely on to find their equipment is huge. Making sure they at least have a pen, pencil and ruler each day will make a difference. A rubber, sharpener, coloured pens/ pencils, spare pen and pencil and calculator are all also very helpful.
Rehearse The Journey
If your child is going to be walking to school alone or heading off on a bus without you for the first time, practicing the journey over the summer will go a long way to helping them feel more secure on the first day of term. Starting by dropping them off near to school and gradually working your way towards home will help to scaffold this for those that feel nervous.
Join Our Free Back To School Challenge
We all know the final week before school goes back can be stressful. So this year turn it on it’s head. Starting on the 27th of August our free challenge will help you and your child celebrate the week, reduce anxiety levels and put new schedules into place ready for school to start. You don’t have to do this alone. Sign up here to take part.
Take A Look At #UNIQUEANDSUCCESSFUL: The Club
Secondary School is all about empowerment, growing up and starting to make your decisions. As parents we are desperate for our children to make good choices. They on the other hand have realised that we as parents don’t know everything, and are wondering if we’ve do in fact know anything. The Club, will teach them the strategies you need them to learn to help them handle the big emotions surrounding starting secondary school, whilst giving their self esteem a much needed boost. Perhaps even more importantly, it will let them know that they very definitely do have a Tribe. Find out more here.