Top tips for settling your child in at secondary school

Children at secondary school

They may be great big, hulking, wonderful pre-teens now, but that doesn't mean they're not still your baby. We asked Mumsnetters for their top tips when it comes to settling their kids in at secondary school. Here's what they said…

Ease them in gently
school uniform laid out neatly

“Secondary school can be overwhelming. They are going from having one teacher to several and are suddenly expected to make notes, record and complete homework. I tried to make this as easy as possible – at the start I got his uniform together until he settled, then encouraged him to sort out everything the night before, and then he worked on getting a routine to keep on top of homework.”

Pre-socialise them
two girls playing computer games

“For my youngest I am generally concerned about the fact they hate change, so September is always a bit stressful. They have met up with some others going to the same school which helps.”

Stay in touch
Boy on bus

“The move to secondary school didn’t seem to bother our son but as we live in a tiny village it meant a long bus journey to and from school. So with this in mind we decided that a phone was essential so we could check where he was and whether he had missed it!”

Take part
Kids at drama class

“Join in as much as you can! if your school offers lots of clubs – join them. Lunchtime Drama club was my son's saviour. He found a lot of new friends there.”

Be prepared
Sanitary products

“Put together a discreet period kit for emergencies (if you have a daughter).”

A vintage model
Vintage mobile phone

“They will want a phone if they don't have one already. Don't get the most expensive super-dooper model as it will be a target for thieves. A reliable, mid-range smartphone is the best choice (you'll convince yourself they don't need a smartphone, but they will).”

Lend a listening ear
Dad listening to his son

“I think it's important not to question too much, but make time for him/her to talk when they get home – it's not easy being in a new environment around new people so the more supportive you can be, and a listening ear will help them a lot rather than 100 questions you want to know the answer to, which they won't want to answer when they come home tired!”

Troubleshoot transportation
Mum and pre-teen daughter

“For all three, the biggest worry has been how to get to and from school each day. So in the holidays we would walk the route several times and then start going off route for the variations that they could use. This definitely helped them and if they had had to get a bus, we would have caught the bus together several times as well and a practice run of them catching the bus themselves.”

Connect with other parents
Chain of paper dolls

“I've found the school's parent forum a godsend of tips from more experienced parents. Also found out that half of what we think they will need they don't need at all, so have saved money too. It's reassuring to have a group of people with tips and tricks as we found out it's not a posh school where everyone has designer this and that, in fact, you're actively encouraged to write what your child needs on there and someone usually has one you can either have or buy for a small amount. It's nice to see some recycling!”

Embrace technology
Woman on a smartphone

“Check out what apps are available. Apps like “Show My Homework” and “School Gateway” have been sanity saving. Find out what social media the school uses and follow them. My son's school shares a lot of information on Twitter!"