How can I help terrified DS with secondary transition?

(15 Posts)
Titsalinabumsquash Wed 10-Aug-16 08:17:10

DS1 is going to secondary school in Sept and he's terrified.
He's swinging between refusing to acknowledge that he's going (refusing to chose a bag/pencil case/uniform) and as soon as we try to have a conversation he dissolves into floods of tears, he's scared that he won't cope and he'll get lost.

I know these are all normal feelings but is there anything I can do/say to help him? He was fine on transition day and I've arranged a friend in an older year to travel with him every day until he gets used to it.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Wed 10-Aug-16 09:11:55

Poor thing!
Can you contact the tutor at all? I am a secondary teacher and would be able to help any students I knew of who were particularly anxious.

WeAllHaveWings Wed 10-Aug-16 09:25:49

Do you know who is in his new class? Ds is starting secondary next week and has met up with some of his new classmates over the summer.

Titsalinabumsquash Wed 10-Aug-16 09:31:41

No, he's the only one going from his primary school so he doesn't know anyone else. I have met the tutor and the pastoral care lady who will look after him as he has additional medical needs.
I don't think I can contact the tutor before school starts but I definitely will see if I can asap when term begins.

deepdarkwood Wed 10-Aug-16 09:35:07

If school are already aware, I would certainly get a message to his tutor. They are almost certainly going to check in before term starts, and may well be able to suggest some things for the first few days to help him settle and feel more confident.

Can you contact the friend in the above year and get him to come & give a pep talk? Ds did this for a friends son - he loved doing it & I heard it helped :-)

mummytime Wed 10-Aug-16 09:36:31

I would definitely contact the school (people are working at my DC's one all summer). It is possible that your DS could have a brief extra visit the day before term starts (this is usually an INSET day). If you know anyone who is going to the school or already there, then try to contact them for a meet up.

I would hold off mentioning it until it gets closer. And then work on strategies for him to cope.

PolterGoose Wed 10-Aug-16 10:12:46

Do phone/email the new school. Ds's secondary ran several transition events over the summer holidays before Y7 started for children with SENs and any otherwise vulnerable kids.

WeAllHaveWings Wed 10-Aug-16 10:45:50

is there anyway to track down any of the children from his transition days the he felt he could be friends with and invite them over during the holidays? ds found some of them on Instagram and got in touch/met up

TheSecondOfHerName Wed 10-Aug-16 13:39:26

DS3 was a bit anxious about starting secondary this time last year. What helped him was writing a list of "what ifs".

Examples:
What if I get lost?
Ask a teacher or sixth former where to go.

What if I don't make friends?
Join some lunchtime clubs.

What if I feel ill?
Ask to be excused and go to Matron.

Breaking it down like this really helped with the anxiety. In the end, he was absolutely fine.

Titsalinabumsquash Wed 10-Aug-16 16:27:16

I will have a chat with him at bed time when the others aren't around to see if we can break some of these things down.

I have called the school today and no one is answering so they're either closed just not here today, I have emailed the pastoral care lady we met and asked her to call me.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Wed 10-Aug-16 16:55:03

An email will work better because they can pick it up when they are in. Just letting him know that his tutor knows will help hugely, I am sure.

My daughter is starting this year as well and she had a wobble a couple of weeks ago. I like the idea of breaking it down to the 'what ifs'. The top ones for our year 7 students are getting lost and being late for lesson but as teachers, we know that this will happen in the first few weeks and he won't get into trouble.

I found myself explaining how a timetable works. Today. My dd was fascinated about how everyone has an individual timetable that is different each day.

ChunkyHare Wed 10-Aug-16 19:58:54

Ds1 has just finished year 8 but was 1 of only 2 children from his primary to start year 7 at the secondary he attends. And the other child and him were not friends.

We did the what ifs, I also taught him how to calm himself down if he got upset by doing breathing exercises, and a ready to hand excuse for crying not related to being overwhelmed but a poorly Grandma.

For the first few days of year 7 they went over school rules, had an earlier dinner to allow them to get food before the rest of the school came in, and got them to colour in the rooms their lessons would take place in on the school map.

We reassured him that everyone in his class would all be heading to the same lessons so to pay attention and follow his classmates. They were setted for Maths and English from day 1 in our school but that may be different so Ds just asked who was going to X room and stuck with them.

We had a fantastic year 7 head and he was fine with us asking questions and very reassuring.

Ds1 loves his school but I was a wreck to begin with. We walked his route to school, crossed lots of roads and showed him the safest places to cross.

Hopefully someone will get in touch with you over the holidays to advise and reassure.

HerdsOfWilderbeest Sat 13-Aug-16 09:21:58

They imagine themselves all alone and lost. They forget the fact there will be 29 others in the same position all looking for the rooms.

LockedOutOfMN Sat 13-Aug-16 13:27:52

Staff will be in school the day before term starts and probably prior to that. Maybe your son would feel reassured to go in to the building with you and walk around for 20 minutes, "get his bearings", with the school's permission?

bojorojo Sat 13-Aug-16 23:21:49

To be honest, I do not think that amount of angst is normal at all. My DDs went to boarding school at 11 and knew no-one. I think you do need to contact the school and practice the route. I never worried about my girls and we all expected it would be fine. They knew they could ask a member of staff if there was a problem. I don't think not knowing their way around ever crossed their minds because the whole class moved around together. No-one is ever on their own.

Does he manage other things on his own? If so, can he not take confidence from these successes?

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