Children are about to move onto secondary schools in a few months. Perhaps your child is one of them. This is a time of great change for a child and for the family as a whole as this transition is a time of growth, learning and independence. Children naturally have mixed feelings about this change. Sue Atkins, parenting expert and founder of positive-parents.com explains how we can make that process a little easier all round.
“I was scared that I might not make any friends and that I’d get bullied, though I was excited too because it was such a big step in my life.”
~ Chris aged 11
Children worry about getting lost, as the school is much bigger and looks like a maze of endless corridors with thousands of people, or they worry about not fitting in, or having the mickey taken out of them if they don’t like sport, or football. They worry about their physical appearance, their spelling, their journey- the list is endless.
Try asking your child these 3 questions:
- What is the best thing about your new school?
- What will you miss most about your old school?
- What is the scariest thing about your new school?
Talking through issues and concerns with your child builds their confidence and gives them support in coping with the practical and emotional worries they may be experiencing.
Many larger schools have their own web-sites, and many of the questions that come up can be found on them. You can find out about school trips, sports fixtures, homework expectations, and the choice of clubs on offer, which can all help alleviate the uncertainty. As moving schools can be a stressful time, don’t be surprised if your child loses their temper or gets irritable more often. They may start to argue with you over trivial things like their school uniform, packed lunch or pencil case.
Remember, as a parent to keep your mind on the bigger picture of supporting your child through these changes and be patient with them.
Top Tips for Kids.
1. Make sure you are organised- then life for everyone is much easier.
2. Never be afraid to ask for help, or talk to someone you trust, like your mum or dad, or tutor.
3. Always make the first effort to make new friends- it helps you move through change easier, as everyone is in the same boat.
4. First impressions last a long time, so make sure yours are good ones – for organisation, presentation, and behaviour! This is your chance to make a fresh start- embrace it and make the most of all the new opportunities. Try out clubs and activities. You will make new friends.
Feel the fear- and do it anyway!
5. Make notes and write down anything you need to remember.
6. Behave in a way that won’t get you noticed too quickly.
7. Find out the layout of the school, and learn where your classrooms are (and the toilets!)
8. Find out your time table, and remember it! Find out what time you need to be at school, and what time you need to go home!
9. Find out what uniform you need, and what to bring in or wear for sport.
10. And finally… find out where the drinks and sweet machines are (get your priorities right!)
Remember, secondary school isn’t a ‘wild jungle’, more like a ‘human zoo’, with lots of interesting animals. The zoo keepers are there to help you- not just to contain you. As parents it’s important to see this experience as something positive- if you are upbeat, so are your children.
Remember Positive Parents = Confident Kids!
To buy Sue's “Making the big leap. Successful strategies for bridging the gap to secondary school CD and ideas book” click here