Organisation

Support your child in creating the habit of getting organised for school the evening before. Remind your child to check their timetable for the following day, pack their school bag and lay out their uniform if necessary. Practical subjects may require additional equipment and materials to be brought into school and pay particular attention to this as can be very hard source a mango or gold paint at 8am on a Tuesday morning on your way out to work! Eliminate the stress before it has the opportunity to take hold for the day.

Lunch

Your child most likely attended a primary school where they experienced a healthy eating policy for the previous eight years. The tuck shops in secondary school are a real novelty and if they don’t offer healthy options all the great health promotion work of the previous 8 years will become undone. So encourage healthy lunches from home and of course the odd treat is no harm. Hot soups and lunches are usually on offer in school canteens and could be an option once or twice a week if the family budget allows.

Hand over some Responsibility

Your child is taking their next step forward into secondary school and they need to learn to manage their time efficiently themselves. You will hinder this natural progression for them by continuing to prepare all for them. They need to build their resilience and part of this is taking responsibility for themselves.

Subjects

As a parent you must remain optimistic about all the new subject choices that your child will now encounter. Your child is still at a very influential stage and your choice of words around your experience of subject choices may influence their opinions. Instead of saying when they come at you with a question about the Modh Coinníollach, “I was never any good at Irish”, say instead “Do you know what I can’t exactly remember. Get me the book and we’ll figure it out together and if we can’t there is always Aunty Una”, etc. Negative language is absorbed as equally as positive so make yours positive.

Homework

Secondary school involves more homework and usually weekend homework particularly in core subject areas. In primary school, it was typical for your child’s teacher to write all the homework up on the board and give time to the class to take it down. In secondary school your child may have up to 7 or 8 different teachers in any day and each may want to give homework. This is usually given orally and needs to be recorded straightaway by your child. Check their diary frequently.

Connect

Make time to connect with your child each day. Talk and listen to them about their stories of all their new teachers, classmates, friends and foes. This will be key to keeping your relationship on track and also will give you a heads up to noticing any changes. It is also important to take the time to check the school website and school social media channels to keep up to date with school events, meetings, etc.

Positivity

The more relaxed and positive you yourself are about school transitioning, the better your child will be in taking their next step forward.