Parental survival guide & cheat sheet

This film was recorded before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Parents share the worries they had before their child started secondary school and give tips and advice on how you can overcome those same concerns.

Survival guide

How to help with those first few weeks.

  • Show your confidence in your child so that they believe in their own confidence. Avoid taking over tasks that they can do themselves – it can sometimes be hard to hold back on trying to help.
  • Be ready to listen, but don’t expect your, “how has your day been?” end-of-day question to be answered. Just be there when your child wants to talk, so that if they have a tough day or a worry, they know you are available.
  • If your child feels they are being bullied or tells you of a circumstance that you consider to be bullying, contact the school for a confidential conversation to deal with this.
  • Welcome their new friends into your home and make them feel at ease
  • Subtly increase your child’s independence with practical experiences such as popping out to the shops or getting them to take more responsibilities like getting their own school uniform ready

Cheat sheet

The easy-wins and simple changes to make the transition to secondary school run smoothly.

  • Make sure you are signed up to the school portal which has all the information you need – how your child has been behaving, what homework they have and what exams they have coming up.
  • Practise the journey to school, particularly if it involves public transport or a new route to walk.
  • Buy your supplies of sticky back plastic early before they run out, so that you are ready for the book covering requested of most year 7s. Stock is harder to find in that first week of September!
  • Go through that school checklist together so that they have everything they need. Go stationery shopping together if necessary.
  • Name everything! Lost property is more likely to get back to your child if it is clearly named.
  • Photocopy or take a photo of their timetable in case it gets lost. They could also take a photo on their phone and save it as their background - that way they’ll never be without it!
  • Make sure they get to bed in good time without any electronic devices, and they have a water bottle and a healthy snack for topping up during their school day too – the first week will be very tiring.
Supporting a child moving to secondary school with Dr Radha
Mumsnet - Starting secondary school
Starting Secondary School homepage