Preparing your child for Secondary School

Share this article with other mums

Read this article to find out what you can do to make your child's first days in his new Secondary School smoother and more pleasant!

The first days of secondary school are usually miserably tough

The first days of secondary school are usually miserably tough

I hated my first day of secondary school. Come to think of it, I don’t remember anyone telling me they had any fun at all during the initial days of entering  new secondary school for the first time.

This rite of passage can be incredibly painful for your preteen kid, who has to deal with all sorts of bodily changes as well as confusing emotions, and on top of that, the upheaval of having to adjust to a completely new environment and new faces.

My parents pretty much left me to my own devices, and I awkwardly cruised along till the second year of school, before I started feeling better about the whole secondary school situation. Looking back, there were some things they did that were awesome and others that would have really helped if they had told me or done for me, then.

Tell your child everyone feels as awkward and as nervous as him

And that’s really the truth. Even the cool kids. If someone had told me that everyone else was feeling just as out of place as me, I think I would have had a much easier time striking up conversations and making friends. And having friends make the pains of growing up that much better.

It certainly does not help that teens hone the skill swaggering and acting confident to such a fine art that it would put the puffer fish to shame. It was not until I was much older that I recognized all that as an act.

Buy him a “cool” bag and “cool” shoes

Shoes and bags are the currency for acceptance into respectable social circles

Shoes and bags are the currency for acceptance into respectable social circles


So you want to teach him that confidence is about what is inside, not what is outside. Or maybe you want to teach him that it’s okay to be different.

That’s very laudable but really, trust me, do him a favour and leave those lessons for after the first months of school. In an education system where uniforms are largely mandatory, cool bags and shoes decide your child’s acceptance into respectable society. The first few months are going to be tough already, so it is highly recommended that you make the transition easier with easily bought items from the nearest shopping mall.

This means, dump the velcro shoes and get him those with laces. Ask him or his older siblings or cousins what are good brands of bags to buy – not expensive brands (good grief, no Prada please unless you want him to be a complete pariah), but “cool” brands that say “I’m one of you” in adolescent lingo.

Do a tour of his new school with him

If possible, it would be a great help if you could walk the school grounds together with him. This helps him get familiar with the new environment with someone familiar, and if the school is big, reduces the possibility of him getting lost.

I remember my first week of school was horrendous because being a person who’s generally bad with directions, I was getting lost a lot which made me panic even more. Because I didn’t know anyone, and I didn’t dare to approach anyone, I was late and flustered a lot. Not a great start for me at all!

Point out to him where his classroom is, where key places such as the canteen, the school hall and the auditorium are and what directions to follow as he moves from one area to another.

Click next to find out what other tips are useful to prepare for your child’s first day in secondary school

Education Parenting Parenting Teens Starting School Bullying & School Problems