Secondary School Essentials
Starting secondary school is a huge change; how do you help your child cope and thrive?
It’s the first time many kids will head off to school under their own steam. They’ll have to juggle new subjects, make friends and stay organised – it can be overwhelming.
As parents, we’re so used to being in control of their daily lives. Now we have to let go, hoping they have the right skills to go out into the world.
But here are some great tips to set them off on the right path…
- Tie-breaker– do a little practice tying a tie – for many, it’s the first time. I still think there might be a market for those pre-tied pin-on ones though…
- Early risers – get an alarm clock (not phones in rooms) and set it 20 minutes earlier than you need to be up.
- Do a trial run -many kids have to get public transport for the first time so do some dummy school runs then and let them loose on their own. For this bit, I suggest a strong coffee and a magazine whilst you wait for their return.
- Practice “What If” scenarios – chat through different scenarios e.g. what to do if the bus is late or they lose their phone. It’s helpful to chat about how to break the ice with new friends. Try not to tell them what to do, wait for their ideas.
- Track ’em! – For the first few weeks at least, it’s good to know they got to school OK. Load up the Life 360 app (https://www.life360.com) for peace of mind. The “M” to their Bond, if you like!
- Make a list of emergency numbers – lost phones are inevitable so make sure they have a list of emergency numbers in their bag.
- Give them the RIGHT tools – a debit card for emergencies, cash, a charger and a charged phone battery. They can get a lot of loose sheets of paper, so a concertina wallet is helpful too. A sturdy rucksack with built-in key chain and lots of pockets is essential too.
- Have a backup – Note the pin for the debit card and 2 spare keys for the padlock (you don’t want to charge into their new school brandishing bolt-cutters).
- Strike 1… Strike 2 – They’ll lose stuff but it’s important for them to know that it costs money to replace. Explain they have 3 strikes – and then they will have to replace with their own pocket money.
Good Luck! This is a wonderful time in their lives when they discover new people and opportunities – enjoy the ride!