Starting Secondary School

change goodenough mother mum parents school secondary school stress teenager Sep 20, 2022

10 Things I have learned


My son started secondary school this year.

His last few weeks of summer holidays, were a mixture of excitement, nerves and wonderings as a new uniform, school bag and bus ticket were bought in preparation for this whole new chapter.

I tried to think back to my first day in secondary school and remember it so clearly.

Loads of new faces in a huge hall waiting for a teacher to come in and put us in our groups. All a bit unsure ,new faces, lots of unknowns, but everyone settled in to their routine by the end of the first few weeks.

James’ transition to secondary school seems to be similar and this encourages me to share with you the few things I have learned so far about his new experience , especially if you have a child starting soon.


  1.  There will be upheaval in your routines for a while. Take it easy on yourself and everyone in the house while you all adapt; It's trial and error. I promise, you will find what works in the end.
  2.  They are more ready than you think for the change. In fact, it is hugely empowering and teaches them valuable life skills as they become adults. Preparation, planning, responsibility and awareness are practiced daily in secondary school . Avoid doing everything for them and offer gentle reminders of what must be done,. Let them practice. 
  3.  There is definitely a sense of being ‘all grown up’ but they still need guidelines and boundaries when it comes to bed time, screen time and mealtime. Days are longer for them now and they will feel this over the first month, so it is important to get enough sleep and nutritious food. Screen time & phone time must be agreed upon and make sure you have systems in place to enable this.
  4.  Trust them to make good choices. As a parent you want to know your child is always safe and happy. A new school brings new friends that will come from different families with different values to yours. Trust, you have instilled your values well enough and that they will discover values of their own to make the right choices.
  5.  Keep asking how their day went and be interested in their friends. You may not get much of a response straight away, but they will share with you in their own time. Believe it or not, they want you to ask and it is what they need to hear.
  6. Make sure you all sit down together as often as possible for at least one meal. This is SO important and can be where lots of issues are sorted and problems shared. There may be other siblings who are always watching and listening. Make it easy for them by creating healthy discussions where they know they will be listened to when their time comes.
  7. Be cool with the new friends and take your lead from your child. Be yourself, friendly and welcoming, but keep all conversations short for a few meetings. This allows them to know you are not a psycho mum and someone that is nice to be around:)
  8. Teach them to hang up their uniform. Secondary school uniforms need to be hung up don’t they, otherwise they are creased and look so worn out. This was James treat after he came home from his first day. Let’s just say, it’s a work in progress :)
  9. Make sure they move. Try and introduce some gentle stretches into their day, particularly if they are not very active. Go outside as much as possible too and take short little breaks if homework is getting too much.
  10. Tell them how much you love them and how proud you are of what they have done! It is a big deal and this is what they need to hear the most! Remember, if you have got them this far, you are doing a great job, don't forget to celebrate that!




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