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Monday 26 September 2022

How to ease nerves over starting secondary school

 How to ease any anxieties over secondary school

Starting secondary school is such a big step for every child and their parents. For many parents, it is a step toward realising their child is growing up and isn't in nursery any more. And for the children it's a big step towards independence and gaining a little more freedom.

With these changes comes the anxieties and nerves of change, I can't quite remember starting secondary school myself which leads me to think it was uneventful which is always a good thing. Here's my top tips for helping ease any last-minute nerves.
School whiteboard and pens

Plan the first day together

Hopefully the school you have chosen has ran transition days to give an outline of what the school is like and what a typical day could look like, but that doesn't mean you can't prepare yourself. Make sure your child has their timetable well in advance, walk the route to school together so it's familiar, and plan what to have for breakfast and wake-up times. Having a clear structure will help organize thoughts and allow them to think of the next step easier

Prep the night before

Along with having a plan, you can prepare everything in advance as much as possible. Get your child to pack their bag the night before and leave it near the front door, have their uniform laid out ready to put on. Have any additional equipment such as a pen / PE kit they may need ready to go. By prepping everything as much as possible the night before it should account for any major mishaps or worries on the morning and make it easier to get out of the door

Join school groups

Nerves will come for parents just as much as they will for the children but it's important we make them feel comfortable and ready. In terms of preparing beforehand take a look on Facebook to see if the school you've chosen has a group, you could join. Whether it's an independent secondary school in Leicester, a local academy, or a council-run secondary school they usually have offshoot social media groups with existing parents. This is usually good to join for any inside info, uniform swaps and any ways to get involved such as school governors

Acknowledge and validate any worries

Back-to-school worry is an understandable and valid worry, so starting a new school altogether is bound to exacerbate any usual worries. What your child is likely to need more than anything is somebody to talk to who will listen. Be careful not to play down any worries or make them feel silly. You need to listen and acknowledge their concerns and help them understand that new things can be tricky but sometimes they can become easier and even fun to do. Be there to listen after the first few days and longer if they need it.

If it has been the summer holidays it's key to try and get back into some kind of routine that can help with structure and worries. In the weeks leading up to school implement bedtimes / wake up times again. Try and have meet ups with other children who will be starting at the same time. A familiar face does a lot for easing worries.

What's your top tip for starting school?
Starting Secondary School

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