Starting a new school can feel more than a little scary. With new lessons, teachers and layouts to become familiar with, there’s a lot to take on board!
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be a frightening experience. So whether your child is moving to a new primary school or is just starting Year 7, these top tips will help them to relax and feel confident ahead of the move.
1. Chat to your child about any worries
Firstly (and most importantly), encourage your child to share how they’re feeling. Let them know that it’s okay to share what they’re worried about, and reassure them that it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious sometimes. Sharing a smile and a hug really helps too!
For more tips on how you can reassure your child, take a look at our tips for supporting your child’s wellbeing and our top 10 books for children who worry.
2. Familiarise yourself with the school
Before term kicks off, try to visit your child’s school using the same route you’ll be using to travel there during term time. This will help them (and yourself!) to become familiar with the journey, helping to ease any nerves by becoming familiar with the location.
While you’re visiting, take the opportunity to point out any particular areas of interest to your child. For example, if they love art, you could talk about their art facilities: “The art rooms are in that building. They also have a photography room, and there’s even an art club!”.
3. Reach out to parents and pupils
A new group of children and parents to become acquainted with can be equally as worrying for your child as it is for yourself! Take a look on Facebook or Twitter to see if your school has any parent groups. Joining these is a great way to introduce yourself and join any events they’re running ahead of the new school term.
It’s also worth taking a look at your school’s website to see if they have any online parent platforms or are running any events for new families.
4. Practice ice breakers
‘What if I don’t make any friends?’ is a worry shared by most (if not all) children starting a new school. The thought of introducing yourself to lots of new faces is understandably scary – but luckily, there are ways to help calm your child’s nerves.
If your child is worried about this, let them know that their peers are probably just as scared as they are (even if they’re good at hiding it). In fact, they’re probably just as keen to make new friends!
Reminding your child of a few tips and tricks can also help to put their mind at ease. For example:
- Even if you’re nervous, try to keep eye contact with the person you’re talking to
- Ask questions about what they say
- Smile and nod to show that you’re listening
- Most importantly, be yourself!
5. Learn a little every day
Introducing a little learning into your days is a great way to refresh your child’s learning and fill any gaps in their knowledge, creating a solid foundation for them to build on in the year ahead.
The good news is that you don’t need to buckle down with mountains of books and wave goodbye to summer; just a few minutes of learning a day can do wonders!
Doodle is specifically intended for this purpose. Designed to be used for 10 minutes a day, it revises tricky topics and introduces new areas, making it a great way for children to catch up and get ahead before the term begins. Why not give it a try?
6. Continue your family fun
Whether it’s playing board games, having movie nights or heading to the local park for a picnic, carrying on with fun family activities will help your child to relax ahead of the new school term.
Try to continue these activities once the term begins after school or at the weekend. This will help your child to unwind and have fun while spending some quality time together as a family.
7. Stock up on stationery
Finally, there’s nothing quite like a new pencil case brimming with colourful pens and pencils to get a child excited about heading to the classroom!
Why not treat your child to some shiny new stationery or a rucksack featuring their favourite character for the year ahead? Your child will be so excited to show their friends their new stylish backpack that they’ll be counting down the days before school begins.
And there we have it! With these tips in mind, your child’s move to a new school doesn’t have to be scary, but seen as an exciting opportunity to make friends and explore new subjects!
For that extra boost of confidence, be sure to give the DoodleMaths and DoodleEnglish apps a try. They’re both proven to boost confidence and ability, placing your child in great stead for the year ahead. And most excitingly, you can try them for free!