Top Tips to Help Your Child with the Transition to Secondary School


September 2, 2021

Tips to help your child with the transition to secondary school

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The transition from primary to secondary school can be daunting for many children. A new environment, longer day, more books, teachers, classes, homework and possibly separation from friends. We have teamed up with to bring you these top tips to help your child with the transition to secondary school and during that important 1st year.

Tips To Help Your Child With The Transition To Secondary School

tips to help your child with the transition to secondary school

Remember children pick up on our anxieties, so try and be relaxed about this new phase. Talk to them before they start and listen to and try to address any worries or concerns they may have. Also it is important to make time each day to have a chat about how their day went and you can fill them in on your day too.

Many secondary schools will assign your child a ‘buddy’ from an older class to help them get settled in. Remind them that everyone is in the same boat starting off, the school and the routine will be new to all the 1st year pupils regardless of whether they attended the feeder primary school or not.

Be Prepared

Preparation is key to help your child with the transition from primary to secondary school. Try and have all the books from the book list on day one. And if your child’s school has a uniform, be sure they have everything they need for the first day too. They will be more relaxed knowing they are all prepared and ready to go.

Label everything! I am talking from experience, they will lose at least one item of their uniform each term or end up with someone else’s jumper/lunchbox/jacket/text book etc.

My other top tip when it comes to the uniform is to double up on the pants/skirt/jumper/t-shirts/socks if you can afford to. If items go missing or get damaged, it can be difficult to get replacements during the year. When my girls were still growing, I bought the next size up as my double up extras. That way, if I didn’t need them during that year, I had them ready for the next year.

In the current times, your child will need to get used to wearing a mask throughout the day. Be sure to pack a spare and try several to find one that is comfortable for them to wear for prolonged periods of time.

Establish a Good Sleep Routine

tips to help your child with the transition to secondary school sleep routine

A good sleep routine is vital for your child to be alert and actively learning each day. The school day is a big step up from what they are used to, not to mention the time needed for homework and study, including at the weekends.

They need some downtime to unwind before bed. Whether they enjoy reading, having a bath or watching a favourite TV program, they need to take the time to relax so they can get to sleep quickly. Children and teens of this age need at least 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Needless to say, devices should be off for at least 30 minutes (and ideally an hour) before they intend to sleep.

Be Prepared For The Year Ahead

The secondary school collection from has everything you need from books to exam papers, revision guides to backpacks and all those last minute extras, with everything delivered to your door in no time at all. secondary school collection

Nutrition – Fuel for the Brain

A good breakfast will provide them with the energy they need to face the day ahead. Low sugar, wholegrains, fruit and protein-packed breakfasts are best.

Lunch will also be different in secondary school. Your child may have access to a canteen and they will often be allowed to leave school during their lunch break giving them access to other shops or cafés where they can buy lunch.

For those that want to bring their lunch to school, a good lunch box and water bottle are essential. And check out these flasks which will keep soup, pasta or other healthy meals warm until lunch break.

If they go straight to study, pack a snack to have between school finishing and study beginning. And once they get home, sit together to eat so you can all catch up on how everyone’s day went.

Heavyweight Bag and Books

Lockers tips to help your child with the transition to secondary school

The one thing I really wasn’t prepared for when my girls went into secondary school was the weight of their school bags. It is essential they get a sturdy bag that fits well and helps distribute the weight evenly.

If the school offers lockers, sign up for one. It will save them having to carry all their books to and from school each day. Remember to label each book. My girls usually pick a page within each book to write their name on. They use the same page number for all their books! That way if they go missing they can usually track them down.

Most children will receive homework in several subjects each night, so they will need to bring books home for this. A friend suggested that I buy a 2nd copy of some of the heavier text books, even a second hand copy, so they could have those at home and leave the other copy in school. We did it for a couple of subjects they regularly get homework in.

Another top tip is to place all the books and copies needed for a subject in a zipped wallet. That way they just reach into their locker or bag and they have everything together for that subject. Often there is not much time between going from one class to another, so being able to grab and go saves them searching around in bags and lockers for the relevant items.

For parents, the cost of the first year books can be daunting, but remember, in most cases those books will last until 3rd year and the booklist for 2nd and 3rd year is usually much reduced both in cost and items needed. Buy school books early to avail of discounts and to ensure stock as popular text books can be difficult to get as back to school time approaches.

Create a Space to Work

Your child will need a dedicated place to study at home, preferably one without distractions! Stock up on stationery for school and home. From pens, pencils and highlighters to refill pads and notebooks, having everything at hand helps them get straight into work.

To make this space even better, get your child to help you design it by choosing a desk, chair and other items to personalise it.

Encourage Them to Sign Up for School Activities

After school activities tips to help your child with the transition to secondary school

Friends will play a much larger role in your teen’s life as they transition through secondary school and it can be a daunting prospect for them starting off, particularly if they aren’t attending secondary with their friends from primary. And although they may not realise it yet, the friends they make during this time will often be friends for life, so they need to choose wisely.

Every school has clubs, after school activities and groups that children can get involved in. They range from sports teams to debating, drama and much more. Encourage your child to sign up to some of these as it is a great way to meet like minded individuals and make new friends – and also a great opportunity to try something new that they may have an interest in.

Use the School Website or App

The school website or app helps keep you up-to-date with school activities, holidays and other events. You can also view school policies, download forms for when your child may be absent, etc. Many schools also offer an online payment facility for things like insurance, school trips, etc.

In primary school the children would have received notes about days off and staff meetings well in advance, but that is not always the case in secondary school. Your child may know about upcoming staff meeting or days off or early finishes, but they don’t always remember to tell you! The school website or app is the place to go for all this information.

Support Your Child

This is a new phase for all of you that will take a bit of time to get used to. From juggling deadlines and learning how to study to having more freedom and having to be more responsible and independent, there will be an adjustment period for you and your child.

Be sure they know that you are there to support them and hopefully it will all go smoothly.

Top Tips to Help Your Child with the Transition to Secondary School – Mykidstime

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