Preparing for Secondary School
Even the most confident of children may feel a degree of apprehension when thinking about moving on from primary to secondary school. After all - right now, your child is a big fish in a fairly small pond; so joining secondary school is a major change.
That said, it should be an exciting milestone rather than something which your child dreads. So, as they approach their 11th birthday it's not a bad idea to start thinking about how you might help them handle the changes.
Once your child has selected and been accepted into a secondary school, it's a good time to think about how they'll travel there. If they are walking or cycling make sure that they know the route and they've had a couple of practice runs beforehand.
Similarly, if they are taking public transport, it's a good idea to make sure that they know which bus/train/tram/tube to catch and that they have a good idea of how long the journey takes. When it comes to public transport, it always pays to leave a little extra time in case of any potential delays/cancellations/traffic. There's nothing worse than being late on your first day!
It's also a good idea to help you child get themselves organised ahead of the big day. Make sure they've got the right equipment, PE kit, etc. and if possible encourage them to get into the habit of packing up their school bag the night before rather than struggling to get everything together in the morning.
In the early days of secondary school, your child may seem more tired than at the end of the primary school day. Try to give them a bit of leeway and don't pile on the pressure with an out of school activity every night of the week. Starting secondary school is a big adjustment. In addition to getting used to new surroundings, new teachers, new classmates etc - there's also the weight of a host of new academic subjects. As such, it's not a bad idea to establish some sort of homework routine in the early days.
Try not to dismiss any apprehension your child may be feeling about starting secondary school. Instead, take the time to talk to them about any concerns that they may have and, together, try to come up with some strategies to help them cope.
It's also really important not to pass on any worries you may be experiencing about your child moving on to secondary school. Children have an eerie habit of picking up on these things and you may make them more nervous as a result.
When your child does start secondary school try to set aside a little quality one-on-one time, so they can talk to you about their day and how they're settling in. Some children will find the transition incredibly easy; whereas others may find it a little harder to adjust. Either way, they'll need your love and support to help nuture their confidence and self-esteem which will help them both academically and socially in the exciting challenges which lie ahead.