A New School: 5 Tips for Parents

September 04, 2013 by Mark Maclaine
Image A new school is a daunting prospect. Here are five tips for parents to help your children:

 1. Allow your child to feel whatever they are feeling

Tell your child that it’s normal to feel whatever they are feeling. Be careful not to invalidate those feelings by saying ‘don’t be silly, you don’t feel nervous’. If they want to tear-up, let them. Most people feel a lot better after letting off a bit of steam. Empathise with their concerns. Agree that you too would be worried about such a thing.

 2. Remind your child that everyone feels just as nervous

Ask them if they think any other students could feel the same way when they enter a new school. Maybe share a personal story if you have one: your first day of school or even a new job. Ask them to be kind to the other students who may be just as nervous as they are. A mission to take care of the other students can give them confidence and help them make friends much quicker.

 3. Know what happens on the first day

Schools often send out letters detailing the first day of term, and sometimes the entire first week. Read this with your child and write down any questions that you will phone or email the school with so you can find out the answers in good time

4. Make a plan with your child

My fellow tutors and I have found that creating a wall-planner can be hugely beneficial, especially if you use this to discuss an action plan for the term ahead. Seeing the bigger picture makes the term seem less daunting and helps them plan homework and revision so exams don’t ‘pop out-of-the-blue’.

 5. Make your the boss of their own education

A student who feels empowered, and supported, in their own education will do better than one who is dragged kicking and screaming through the school year. Ask them how you can best support them in their studies. Can you remind them every evening to get their work done before watching TV? Can you get them any additional books or resources as the term goes on? Then it’s easier to say “you asked me to do this” rather than coercion later on.

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