Tips for parents Tips for students

Preparing for the New School Year

Simply sitting down and talking with them may provide them with the confidence needed to take on this new challenge. Have them reflect on situations they have encountered before, particularly those that have challenged them, and consider positive ways in which they responded.
6 August 2022

For children who are transitioning into a new school year, particularly from primary to secondary, the summer can be a period of mixed emotions. There will be feelings of excitement, of apprehension, of trepidation. Don’t worry, these are all natural. But it’s important to realize that children will need guiding forces during this time. That is where parents can step in to help. Here, we will discuss the necessary steps and considerations to take on board, in order to provide reassurance and confidence when faced with such a significant stage in both your child’s, and your own, life.

Preparing necessary items

One of the first, and most pivotal, decisions will be determining what your child uses to carry their equipment. Look into the most typical school bag that pupils at the school use. To save yourself hassle and money, make sure it can withstand the tests of daily school life. Because, trust me, it will endure many tests. Flimsy bags will not sustain the trials of school-life! Also, if necessary, when buying a school uniform, make sure to buy early and do not label until you have checked before the school year. Most suppliers will exchange unworn uniforms if needed.

In this day and age, cell phones have become an essential item for any school child. However, ensure to research the school’s policies regarding this, as each will differ. At the end of the day, a cell phone can offer a sense of reassurance, given the potential for an emergency. In a similar vein, while not as essential, computers and printers should be available at home. Many schools set homework online, and virtual spaces are encouraged to share documents for set tasks.

Becoming familiar with the school route

Take into consideration the route by which your child will take to school. Will they need a specific type of transport? Are they able to walk themselves? If driving is necessary, take note of particularly troublesome junctions, or generally busy areas. It may even be worth parking further away from the school to begin with, so that your child can gain a sense of confidence and independence in becoming familiar with the school’s immediate area; not to mention avoiding congestion.

If you have managed to attend an open day during the summer break, remind your child of the entrances that were used. A transition from a smaller, familiar playground, into a larger school site can be intimidating. It would be beneficial to organize a meeting point with a friend on the first day, so that they can walk together and become more comfortable when entering the school. If something does not go to plan, let your child know that it will be okay. Prearrange the possible options if they lose their bearings, miss the bus, cannot find their friends, and so on. This is where a cell phone can come in handy. If your child knows that there is a back-up plan, or a point of reference in case of unplanned events, this sense of reassurance should provide them with the necessary confidence for the first days at their new school.

Talk it through with your child

As previously mentioned, confidence can make a world of difference in acclimatizing your child to such a significant change in their academic career. Simply sitting down and talking with them may provide them with the confidence needed to take on this new challenge. Have them reflect on situations they have encountered before, particularly those that have challenged them, and consider positive ways in which they responded.

Also, let them know the importance of time. Time management will prove crucial in ensuring they make the most of their school experience. Such a core skill will prove beneficial for their entire academic and professional life, so it is best to make them aware early on. Having them get to grips with their timetable, their homework, and any potential extra-curricular activities will bolster their confidence and ease their apprehension during such a turbulent lifestyle change.

Don’t be afraid to communicate with the school

It’s important to realize that the school is there to accommodate not only your child’s needs, but your own needs as well. If there are any anxieties or uncertainties that are chipping away at your mind, reach out to the school. They will be happy to help you, and they will also be appreciative of your support. Don’t wait until parents’ evening if there are any concerns, make sure to communicate straight away!


Find a network to share your experiences

While such a significant transition is personal to each and every one of us, it is useful to remember that there are others in the same boat as you. Talking to other parents, either in person or via online networks, can prove comforting. Not only can you pick up tips and tricks that will prove useful for the upcoming school year, but you will experience a sense of reassurance through shared experiences.

Support your child

Ultimately, your child may feel the weight of such a pivotal moment in their academic and personal life. Remember, you are there to support them. Listen to what they have to say. Ask them about how they are feeling, but try not to pry. Respect their boundaries, while also letting them know that it’s healthy to communicate if they need to. Cultivating a home environment where they feel comfortable to share their concerns will bolster their confidence and prepare them for the upcoming transition. Start conversations about anything, from music, to sports, to current affairs, calibrating them to adult conversations. This will encourage them to build their personal identity, which will be a powerful tool in their arsenal.

Ultimately, try to remember that, while daunting, this is a necessary stage for any parent and child. As your child builds their independence, you may feel a loss of control. New friends, new teachers, a new route to school; there are many new factors which can cause a whirlwind of emotions. But it is all positive, and this new adventure will be the exciting introduction to your child’s adult life.

Further readings:

  1. “The Back-to-School Guide for Parents” –
  2. “10 Back-to-School Tips for Parents” –
  3. “The Ultimate Back-to-School Checklist for Parents” –
  4. “Back to School: How to Get Your Kids Ready” –
  5. “Preparing for the New School Year” –