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Making the transition from primary to secondary school

Parenting a child in the transition from primary school to secondary school can be a challenging time for families. Under the current circumstances, this transition is even more challenging. Both you and your child will go through a range of emotions from excitement to fear. Some may find the transition easy and others will find it all very difficult and need coaching on how to settle in and make new friends. There isn’t a quick fix and some will need more time and support to settle themselves into their new surroundings.

Here are some top tips to make the transition as smooth as possible:

• Secondary schools often have induction sessions for new students. Speak to the school and find out what they are planning to put in place in the current situation. If there are opportunities to connect to the school virtually, take advantage of this.

• Consider how your child will travel to school. For many, using the school bus is a hot spot for anxiety but remove the worry as early as possible by finding out how this will work come September. If walking to school is the option, do it and time it. You don’t want your child being late to school!

• Encourage your child to speak up to new friends. Making friends can be difficult especially if they are on their own. It may take some effort but will be worth it in the long run. Try and connect with other parents to see if there are ways for your child to connect with other people over the summer.

• Train your child to write things down. Tell them not to rely on remembering homework or when they need to bring something specific in, it needs to be written down. It is information overload at the start of term and writing things down will help them stay organised.

• Get involved and join clubs. Sport is a great way to make new friends and try new things. Find out what the school may be offering. If sport is not their thing many offer computer, art and chess clubs.

• Create a calm workspace at home. You may already be used to this having spent time at home recently. A place where they can store books and textbooks is needed so that they don’t end up all over the house. It doesn’t need to be a desk – although that is helpful. Doing it at the dining table is fine, just make it a regular place.

• Have the resources you need at home. You can help by making sure you have the equipment needed including colouring pencils, calculator, basic stationery and paper. It is really useful to have internet access and a printer for research tasks and homework.

• Finally, patience and calmness is needed if transition is difficult. Be supportive at this time and really listen to what your child is telling them. Lots of support, hot chocolates and speaking to your child’s teacher could help.

Transition is life changing. Everything is different and whilst most will sail through the process with ease it is a time of change. Remember what starting a new job feels like? It is similar for our children changing school. Everything they know has been turned upside down and not all children are resilient, but with support, encouragement and guidance most will be settled and happy in their new school quickly.