Build their confidence
Almost all children, even those who are excited about going to a new school, feel some level of anxiety about the move. Feeling confident and having high self-esteem will give your child a good start, so pay your child a compliment every day.
Don't restrict your praise to academic success, applaud your child for who they are not simply what they achieve. Compliments can range from being a good friend, being helpful at home, being considerate, keeping their room tidy, or doing homework without being nagged. It's easy to focus on what your child doesn't do well, rather than the small, every day achievements. Also, give them more responsibility at home so that you aren't running around after your child so much - if you are the one who always reminds your child to take certain books, musical instruments, or sports kit to school, now is the time to relinquish that role. Suggest they use sticky notes in their room, or a wipe-off board, or put a reminder in their phone if they have one. The last thing you need when your child joins Aspire is to be chasing after because they’ve forgot something.
Other responsibilities might include:
• Make their packed lunches (but you oversee what they eat so that it is healthy and balanced)
• Put their laundry out to be washed.
• Pack their school bag every night – not in the morning.
• Clean their shoes every night or at the weekend.
One of the biggest concerns for Year 7 parents is the journey to school - it's possible your child will have to catch a bus, walk a further distance negotiating busy roads, or cycle. If you always meet your child after school now, start weaning yourselves off this; allow your child to come home on their own or with friends, and remind them to be aware of personal safety such as ‘stranger danger’ and crossing busy roads.
You can't control your child's friendships but it's worth trying to encourage them to be friendly with other children who are destined for the same secondary school.
Similarly, you may be able to encourage your child to be friendly with children they know at out of school clubs who are going to be at the same school. All children easily make new friends, but it can be reassuring to have some familiar faces around for the first week.
Ask your child what they think would work best for completing their homework; give them responsibility for their learning out of school.
Your options might be a snack when they come home, then half the homework before dinner and the rest after dinner, and all completed by a certain time. If you are positive and enthusiastic about making changes rather than being dictatorial there will be fewer arguments!
Out of school activities
There are breakfast, lunch, and after school clubs and activities here at Aspire; why not encourage your child to join some of these clubs as they are an excellent way to try something new and make new friends.
It's good to talk
Not only is your child about to start a new school, but they are on their way to becoming adults. Try to be more communicative with them and lay the foundations for a good relationship. You probably already talk to your child about their school day, but as they get older they can become less communicative, so try to keep this link and ask them if there is anything they are worried about.
Don't fill their heads with negativity, or your own worries, but emphasise that it is normal to be a little anxious and that talking about those anxieties can often help.
The staff of Blackpool Aspire Academy are here to help you and your child enjoy their time at school, to be part of our community, and to develop into respectable citizens and members of society. If you have any worries, concerns, questions, or compliments please do contact us.