We've put together what we feel are some useful pointers to help parents and children through the transition from primary to secondary school!
Be prepared ( just like a boy scout!) – get all the uniform, books, shoes, trainers, socks and stationery out of the way as early as you can – you do not want any last minute stress the week they start!
Start to have conversations about the differences between primary and secondary school – you’ll have done the tour so you can reassure your child that they’ve seen the layout and that lots of people will be there to help them settle in.
Talk about how many children will be there compared to primary – often your child will be going from a network of 30, 60 or 90 peers to around 200 – this can be a positive…think how many new friends that means!
If your child has struggled to fit in at primary there will surely be someone on a similar wavelength when faced with these odds! I know a girl who was a tomboy and all the other girls at primary weren’t – she played with the boys but is even happier at secondary school now because there are “girls like her.”
In the first week establish a routine as quickly as you can, where your child is going to hang their blazer, put their locker key, bus pass, do their homework, etc.
Be prepared – again – for the change – suddenly your child turns from a child into a more independent being – one that if they haven’t already wants to walk to/from school, get the bus or pop into town after school with new friends – think carefully about what parental controls you will implement for this new stage.
New friends – new houses to hang out at and have sleepovers at, how is this going to make you feel? Think about how you will approach this, whether you will meet the new friend’s parents first or is it sufficient to have a phone/text conversation?
Do research – see if your child is better off getting the school bus or the local bus or parent taxi – you can always change this as the terms go on…my daughter quickly went from the school bus to getting the local bus with her friends – she preferred the general public to a bus full of school kids first thing in the morning!
Make friends with other parents who are going to your tween’s new school – I lost lots of my support network when my daughter’s friends went to different schools and my group of mums went their separate ways.
As you can see it’s not just about the effect this transition has on your tween but the effect on you and the rest of your family – be prepared for unsettling times as you all start to adjust to this new chapter in the book of your family life. Stay positive!
The National Teen Trust has been set up to create a support network for parents during these tween and teenage years. Please join our Facebook group NationalTeenTrust and look at our website for details of courses this June in St Albans.