Top Tips for Sending Children To Secondary School
It is a huge step to take yourself to secondary, especially for those who have to catch public transport independently. The transition can be very smooth with a few tips that I learnt from mine heading out the door on their own.
Try and have a dry run in the holiday where you shadow them on the route they will take and then meet them at the other end when they take a solo journey This can be done with friends and a treat lunch on the other side to get them excited about where the next 7 years will be spent.
Discuss alternative rail and bus and routes that can get them too and from school. Public transport can be cancelled and having another option to navigate to is ideal, although not all areas will have this luxury.
Sometimes busses break down, trains terminate before the stop they need. Plan for these curve balls by printing out a paper map of the local area showing their bus stops and the route alternatives in relation to their home and school. They may not always have mobile signal or battery charge, to navigate their way home or to school, via mobile signal, if the bus breaks down.
Provide a bus/after school snack and a refillable water bottle. The day is very long for some, so an extra piece of fruit or their favourite snack stored at the bottom of their bag can help bridge a 1pm lunch and 4:30-5pm return home.
Have a key left with a neighbour or in a safe box, if your child gets home before you do and has left their key indoors.
Texting their whereabouts going to and from school gives you peace of mind and also helps you to call in and report them late for attendance purposes if it is circumstances beyond their control. This will help the school gather evidence to lodge a complaint against the bus and rail companies if they are repeatedly late and remove the late mark from their attendance record.
Forgetting things at home is very normal, have rules as to when you will make the journey to school to deliver what has been forgotten.
Provide emergency money for bus fare or homework essentials that can be bought on route home and required at short notice for the next days art, cooking lesson or dress up day. This can really help you if you return back late from work.
Have extra copies of the school timetable printed out, take a screen shot of the timetable on their phone and pop another copy into their school bag. This helps navigate bag packing, where to head too in the day.
They should always pack their school bag, ideally the night before and have it waiting at the front door along with a reminder to take their cooking, art, PE kits and after school activity bags. This take the morning where is my…away. I had a blackboard with what was needed chalked up by them, so and they then had a visual reminder what they needed to take with them.
Clear homework on the day it is given, you can’t save the homework for the weekend. Most subjects give the students 15 minutes, 30 minutes and building up to an 1 hour a night. We learnt early on that storing the homework leads to fatigue, they are better placed to clear the work that day. Mine had a snack, got their homework done and rested for the night, others preferred to do their homework after dinner. Secondary school is all about the child starting their independent learning journey let them choose when they clear their work. Some even choose to use their lunch hour, so they are free when they get home. Clearing work on the day is key, this helps them enjoy the weekend or days that they don’t have any work and gives their brains a much deserved break.
Some children will head off to a school without knowing anyone, explain that it will take time to make friends. They just need a small group to have lunch with and joining clubs will widen their net to meet like minded friends. The key is for them to pro active, friendly, helpful, kind and caring and they will attract a lovely group of friends.
Talk about the next steps in the holidays, make the experience feel familiar through visualisation and preparation. They will flourish, have a few bumpy starts to their independence but they will love their new school.
Schools have so many good systems in place to settle children in and with your love underpinning them they will flourish.