The new academic year is upon us, which means for many children making the scary transition from primary school to secondary. Here at Tutor Doctor we know that moving up to year 7 is a big step, especially when most secondary schools are 10 times bigger than what they’ve been used to. Not knowing what to expect, where they’re going or if they are going to make friends can certainly be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve come up with some simple ways to make the transition easier on your children and help them get settled in.
Visit the school
Regardless of whether your child has asked to visit their new school or not, it’s always a great idea as it can help them become familiar with their new surroundings. Attending open days, orientation or even just driving past can make their new school less intimidating. Also, find out what facilities the school might have- swimming pool, tennis courts etc. This is an easy way to get kids excited about secondary school rather than scared.
Helping your child build up their confidence is a must when making a big transition. Kids with high self-esteem are more likely to have a wider circle of friends and settle into their new school environment quicker and easier. A great way to encourage self-esteem is to compliment them. For example tell them how great they are, how kind they have been, or that they worked really hard. Praise and recognition of good behavior reinforces positivity and really helps instil confidence.
Listen to what they’re scared of
Most children will feel anxious and nervous about attending secondary school for the first time, even though they may not admit these feelings. Encourage them to open up and tell you what they’re scared of. Most importantly listen to them. Many of their fears may seem irrational or trivial to you, but to them are worst-case scenarios. Talk through each thing that scares them and help them realise what options they have.
Test out their new route
Having a trial run of your child’s new route to school is a great way to make them feel more at ease. Regardless if they are walking, cycling or getting a bus, do it with them. When they’ve done it once, it’s likely the next time won’t be so overwhelming.
Encourage them to join after school clubs
Encouraging your children to join lunchtime or after-school clubs is a great way for them to make new friends. It’s also an easy way to make school more enjoyable and build their skills. Most secondary schools will prize themselves on extra curricular activities and will offer a wide range. From sports clubs such as netball, hockey and football to language clubs or art and crafts- there is bound to be something your child will enjoy.
Make sure they have everything they need
Making sure your child has everything they need when making the secondary school transition is essential. Perhaps the most important is making sure they have the right uniform, as this will help them feel comfortable and just like everyone else (which isn’t a bad thing). Don’t forget about things like P.E kits, stationary and lunch money. There probably won’t be anything worse for them than if they have to borrow P.E kit from lost property.
Make any adjustments sooner rather than later
Often everyday school routines are forgotten in the long summer break. Try and get back into waking up earlier in the last week of the holidays so that school starts aren’t too much of a shock to the system. Also think about the amount of subjects they will be studying in secondary school, which will mean lots more homework. Adjusting old routines and having a set time for homework might be a great place to start. Remember to always check their homework diaries, as you may find they forget. If the workload seems like too much for them to handle, don’t rule out getting a private tutor once or twice a week.
With these simple steps your child should be settled in no time. If after a couple of weeks you find your child is having problems making the transition, it’s always best to make an appointment with their form tutor.