New term worries – sorted!

Here’s my advice in the Tesco Magazine today.

Tips for making the transition into secondary school or university easy and panic-free

Secondary school

1. ‘Get everything organised and bags packed the night before to avoid a panicked rush,’ says teacher Charlotte Blake. ‘Know your child’s timetable so you can make sure they have everything they need – such as a clean PE kit or musical instruments – but let them ultimately be responsible for their own things.’

2. ‘Check out the school’s website and encourage your child to do the same,’ says parenting expert Sue Atkins. ‘The chances are it can answer a lot of your questions about school policies and activities.’

3. ‘Some kids have to take a school bus for the first time when they go to secondary school and it can be terrifying,’ says Claude Knights of Kidscape. ‘Run through the journey to and from school with your child so they know when to get off, and make sure they know what to do if they miss the bus.’

4. Bullying often takes place on buses, so ask your child to let you, their teacher and the bus driver know straight away if they have any problems on their journey to and from school.

5. Changing schools is tiring so be patient. Try not to argue or ask too many questions. Just let them know you’re there if they need to chat.

University/college

1. ‘By the time your child leaves home to study, you have to trust that you have taught them well and set them up to be responsible,’ says Sue. ‘Reassure them you’ll be there if they need you though.’

2. Let your teen know that it’s normal to feel nervous about moving away and encourage them to talk about any worries they have. They might feel happier talking to friends, so don’t force them to chat, but listen if they open up.

3. Make sure they have everything that they need to help them settle. Encourage them to write lists and to find out what books, equipment, and household items are required.

4. Pack them off with a few kitchen basics such as pasta, rice and tinned tomatoes.

5. Not having your kids at home can be hard at first. You’ll want to know what they’re up to – but resist the urge to keep calling. ‘The more you cling, the more your teenager will resist,’ says Sue.

Words Rebecca Speechley

Are you starting university this year? Read our students’ survival guide.