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Surviving The First Term At Secondary School

By now we’re all back into the daily routine of school, complete with new uniforms, school run stress and homework arguments. Children heading into Year Seven are dealing with extra newness though, as they embark on their first term of secondary school.

On the surface this might not seem like a big change; after all, they were already going to primary school five days a week. The move to secondary school can be daunting and unsettling though. Here are some simple ways you can help your new Year Seven cope with their first term at secondary school:

Buy An Alarm Clock

When your child starts secondary school, the school will hold them (rather than you) responsible for getting to school - and to each lesson - on time. This is a great time to encourage some independence at home too, and allow your child to take responsibility for getting up and ready for school. Children at this age tend to want to be independent so allow that - but set your own alarm too. Most importantly, if you end up having to get them up after they’ve slept through their alarm again, don’t tease them. Allow them to use you as a safety net in this and other areas while they’re finding their feet.

Prepare To Relax Your Lunch Rules

Secondary school is all about encouraging children to become more independent and responsible for themselves. Therefore, they may opt to eat pizza and chips from the school canteen for lunch every day. Choose your battles though; much as you may want to put your foot down, in reality you can’t govern what they choose from the school canteen so better to allow them to exercise this newfound freedom.

Prepare For More Homework

Primary school children do get homework, but as a general rule there’s a big increase in work to be brought home when they reach secondary. This might mean that your after school routine has to change to accommodate this. Your child may not appreciate your clearing the dining room table and standing over them as they work though; it may just be a case of gently reminding them to do their homework and giving them quiet time in their room to get on with it.

If  You’re Buying A Mobile, Get Insurance

The average age that children get a mobile phone is when they start secondary school. If your child is travelling to and from school alone every day it may bring both you and them peace of mind to have a mobile phone. Having a mobile phone brings a whole new set of problems and questions though. You may opt for a cheap and cheerful one in case it gets lost, or a more up to date smartphone in the hope that they take better care of it. Either way, make sure it is insured and make sure you have a conversation about what happens if they are mugged. If you’ve read your child the riot act about not losing their phone, the last thing you want is for them to end up getting hurt by someone trying to take it from them because they don’t want you to be cross!

Be Prepared For Moods And Tiredness

Your child has just left a school where they were one of the oldest, and jumped in at the deep end in a large, unfamiliar building where they’re the youngest. If the school also has a sixth form, your little baby boy/girl will be wandering the halls with students who are legally classed as adults. This can be a big knock to a fragile pre-teen ego, and they may take this out on younger siblings or parents at home. There’s no point in joining in with the shouting though; break up fights as required, and provide an understanding shoulder to cry on when needed.

The move to secondary school can be terrifying for an eleven year old, especially if that move also involves new bus journeys or moving to a school that others from their primary school are not attending. The first term will be a time of highs and lows, but you’ll get there in the end.

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