Supporting a child moving to secondary school with Dr Radha

Dr Radha Modgil gives her advice on how to best prepare your child practically and emotionally for the start of secondary school.

Put yourself in your child’s shoes

Try and remember what it was like for you before starting secondary school – the nerves, the fear and the sense of going from being a big fish in a small pond to a little fish in a big pond.

Being open and empathetic will allow your children to feel like they can tell you anything, meaning you can help support them to the best of your ability.

Look out for changes in emotions and behaviour

Are you noticing changes in your child’s sleeping pattern or are they being a bit more quiet than usual? Subtle changes in emotions and behaviour could be a sign of stress and anxiety.

It’s worth having a little chat with them and seeing if there is anything going on that they want to talk to you about. Try to be sensitive to those times of big change, but be careful not to be too over-bearing.

Help your child to build problem-solving skills

It can sometimes feel like solving your child’s problems for them is the kindest thing to do. However, settling in to secondary school is largely about initiative and independence – let them find their own way.

It’s important to help them build trust in their own ability to problem-solve by increasing their independence. This could be anything from navigating their way to and from school to managing their own money when it comes to school lunches.

Set time aside to talk about the move

If you can create a space for your child to tell you if there are any problems early on when they start school, then it will make it much easier to continue those conversations in the future.

This doesn’t have to be a formal thing – in fact it’s probably better to keep it informal – just a place where you can have some space alone so they feel like they can open up and talk to you.

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