Tips for Starting Year 7 – How to Address Your Child’s Concerns
From travelling to school on their own for the first time to meeting hundreds of new people, the transition from year 6 to year 7 is one of the biggest changes in your child’s life up to this point. So they’re understandably likely to have a few worries about it. With that in mind, we’ve compiled these tips for starting year 7 that will help you alleviate their concerns and ease the transition into secondary school.
1st concern: I haven’t made any new friends yet
If your child starts to get worried that they haven’t made a lot of new friends, remind them that it takes time to build these relationships with people. It’s very rare that a pupil will meet their best friend on the first morning of the first day of school, so try to manage their expectations and not let them worry. The first few days of Year 7 are a dizzying time for everyone – parents included – and you’ll see that it takes time for everything to settle down and for your child to start making new friends.
2. Everybody else is settling in better than me
In the age of social media, it can be easy to compare yourself to others. The same applies in a school setting. Your child may think that other kids are settling in better than they are, or making more friends, or finding the whole transition easier. But every child is different, and every Year 7 pupil will have had their own concerns or problems at some point. Remind yours that everyone is in the same boat, and they should focus on themselves rather than comparing themselves to others.
3. I’ve never travelled on my own before
This is a common concern amongst kids – and a valid one. Year 7 could represent the first time they have travelled on their own somewhere, whether that’s on foot or by bus. To help them overcome their concerns, be as organised as possible. Map out the route in advance and make sure they know exactly where they need to be and at what time. Also consider doing a trial run of the route beforehand, when there isn’t pressure to arrive at school on time. Concentrate on eliminating the unknowns from the situation – ideally, your child should know exactly what to expect.
4. There will be too much homework
Your child will probably be set much more homework at secondary school than they were at primary school. But the key here, again, is organisation. Help them to create a system to keep track of homework assignments. This doesn’t have to be anything too complicated – you could simply buy them a homework diary or planner where they can note everything down. If possible, set aside some time every evening to do their homework instead of completing it ad hoc.
5. I’m going to get lost
Secondary schools are much bigger places than primary schools, with more classrooms and more pupils to navigate through. So your child might have some difficulties finding their class initially. Help them out by making sure they have more than one copy of their timetable and school map (in case they lose one). Encourage them to ask a teacher if they’re struggling to find a classroom. Teachers will be happy to help, particularly new pupils, and encouraging your kids to engage with new people is also important for their social development.
6. I won’t like the food
Your kid’s primary school food experience was likely defined by whatever you put in their lunch box every day. At secondary school there will be plenty of new food options in the canteen, but school dinners have come a long way since the days of turkey twizzlers. There’s something for all tastes now, and even if your child is a fussy eater they’re bound to find something that suits them. From a parent’s perspective, you also won’t have to worry about them eating unhealthily at school. Regulation introduced in 2015 stipulates a minimum amount of fruit and vegetables that must be served every week, with limits on deep-fried food and fizzy drinks.
7. The work is going to be really difficult
There’s little doubt that the work in secondary school is going to be more difficult. But it’s all part of the learning process. Secondary schools are used to managing this transition, so reassure your child that they will find it easier to do their homework as they progress. If you notice that your child continues to find the work particularly challenging, get in touch with the school to see how they are doing in class. This will give you an idea of whether they’re really struggling with the work or it’s just a temporary thing.