DD2 is starting school this year and DD1 will be working towards getting into a good secondary school. For many children, starting school isn’t easy. The trepidation and fear of the unknown, alone, can be daunting. And not just on a child’s very first day at primary school either. It happens again when they start secondary school, when they start college, and if they go off to university.
Those nerves might lessen as kids get older and become better equipped to deal with the situation, but starting primary and high school can be an equally nervous time for children. Most schools provide good tips to the parents to help their children face their school days more easily and pleasantly. There are a few tips from Rossall School to help ease those nerves and, more importantly, help your kids to enjoy their first experience of school.
Kids starting primary school:
Starting primary school can be a scary step for a small child. Being at school is often the longest they will have spent away from home – away from parents and around other people – during the day.
Thankfully, schools work incredibly hard to ensure that reception classes are able to settle in and get used to the idea of being at school. This includes holding taster days, which allow your child to experience a full day at school before the term begins. Among other things, this gives them a taste of the kind of activities they’ll do and allows them to meet those children who will be their classmates.
Top tips for primary school
- Try to get into the routine of getting your child ready for school as quickly as possible. Making sure they know what needs to be done, and when – getting up, dressed and ready early in the morning – helps keep everything organised. It also prepares your child for the various routines that are in place at a school
- Talk to your child about school. Find out what they are enjoying and where they are struggling. If needs be, talk to their teacher to see if there are other ways you can help outside of school hours
Kids starting secondary school
Secondary school can be just as daunting for a child as starting primary. Suddenly a child has gone from being one of the oldest (and often one of the tallest pupils) in a school, to being one of the youngest, in a much bigger building, with a lot more people. There is also a lot of moving around from classroom to classroom for lessons, sometimes less break times, and a lot more homework.
The shift can be quite intense. Add to that the fact that they might not be in the same classes, or the same tutor group, as their friends from primary school (some of which will have gone to other secondary schools) and it can become even harder to settle in.
Top tips for secondary school
- Make sure your child is prepared, so they know how to get to and from school, by bus or train, if necessary, and make sure they have all the equipment they’ll need.
- Remind them that they aren’t the only one settling in and the school is there to help first years during their first few weeks. Make sure they know where to go and who to speak to at the school if they have a problem. As well as their tutor, there are always teachers on hand to help with things from getting lost to being bullied.
- Encourage them to make new friends. Yes, there are the other children in their tutor group and classes, but a good way to make friends is by joining after-school activities or sports clubs. Having more people to talk to can help them to get settled in a lot faster.
Understanding that starting both primary and secondary school is a huge step for your child, and just being able to give them time to adjust can be difficult.
Keep in mind that both places are an environment that they won’t be used to, which will invariably be a bit of a shock to the system. Just remember (and remind your child) that their teachers are on hand to help and that they can always come to you if they have any problems.