Do you remember your first day at school? Or maybe even university? Or starting a new job? Going into any new environment, with new people and a handful of experiences waiting for you, is both exciting yet daunting. This is no different for an eleven year old, about to embark on secondary school (or high school).
Today we want to share with you some advice on how you can be the best support to your child, and make the process from primary to secondary school as easy as possible.
Talking with Your Child
Communication is imperative for building healthy relationships. Creating a safe environment for your child, in order for him/her to feel comfortable to speak to you about how they may be feeling about secondary school, is very important. You can do this by asking them simple, open questions. We have suggested some questions below. A great technique in getting your child to open up is to firstly ask them more positive based questions – in order to break the ice and stem them on to talking about any concerns that they may have. (Although they may not have any, as some children are genuinely very excited to start secondary school. However, it is still very important you allow your child the opportunity to express this).
Start off by asking your child some of these questions below, as well as any others that come to mind.
- What are you most looking forward to?
- What subject are you really excited to be learning?
- Are there any activities/clubs you hope your school will do? If so, what are they?
After starting with more positive based questions, hopefully an environment will be set whereby your child will feel more comfortable speaking about any concerns they may have on their mind. Here are some useful questions which may prompt them in that direction.
- So, how are you feeling overall about starting your new school?
- What are you least looking forward to? (If there is anything)
- Are there any subjects you aren’t looking forward to? If so what are they and why?
- Are there any activities you wish you didn’t have to take part in. If so, what are they and why?
- How are you feeling about making new friends?
- How do you think you will spend your break times? (Some children are worried about being lonely and left out of games at school break times)
- Do you think you will miss primary school at all? If so, why?
Being There On Their First Day
On your child’s first day of school it may be useful to make the day extra special. You could do this by making them a special breakfast or dinner. Taking photos of them in their uniform and letting them know how smart they look and how proud you are.
If you can, taking the day off work may be useful so that you can be there to drop them off (either to the bus stop or the full journey) and pick them up too. You will be able to have a great chat when they have finished their first day, and look out for any indication of worry. Offering to help your child if they would like, with their homework may be appreciated, and continuing to let them know you are always be there should they ever want to talk to you.
Follow Up Throughout the Year
Your child has now started school and will steadily be settling in. Continue to have conversations about how school is going and if there is anything they would like to let you know. The questions listed above can be adapted to create conversation.
Overall, your child just needs to know and feel that they have your full support. As anything in life, change isn’t always easy however, majority of children transition into secondary school fairly well and have a wonderful time. However, if you do notice that your child may be struggling and need some extra support, do not hesitate to get in contact with one of our qualified therapists at Bennu. We also have other blog posts and resources on our website which may be useful to you – check them out here.
We hope that you have found this post useful and wish you and your child a delightful school experience.
External Useful links
Disclaimer: In some circumstances further action is required. If you are emotionally or mentally struggling and in need of help please do not hesitate to get in contact with one of our therapists. If your enquiry is urgent please contact Samaritans 24 hour service here and refer to further useful links below.
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