The move from Primary to Secondary School can be an exciting and challenging time for students and parents. It’s a milestone moment in your child’s life as they enter a new school environment surrounded by older students, new subjects — and a heavier academic workload. Here are some things you can do to help your child get ready for Secondary One.

Plan the Journey Together

If your child has always been ferried to and from school, this might be the first time they have to take public transport. Map the route to and from school together with your child. Find out which bus to take, which MRT station to alight, how to walk from the school, from the bus stop or train station, etc. Go over alternative transport routes should the primary method be disrupted.

Teach Your Child First Day Survival Tips

It is normal to feel nervous on the first day of school. This is especially so as your child is enrolled into a different school and will be meeting new teachers and schoolmates. Encourage them to take the initiative to get to know their classmates so they’ll have a recess buddy and someone to ask for help in homework. Social support makes all the difference in navigating their new Secondary School.

Get School Books and Uniforms Ahead of Time

With the nerves and confusion that accompany the first week at a new school, the last thing you want your child is to fret over missing textbooks. As soon as you know which Secondary School your child will be posted to, do the necessary preparations for the new school year. Get your child involved in buying their textbooks (it’s their education after all), and go shopping for school shoes, bag, stationery and other school essentials.

Make Sure the Uniform Fits

After getting the school uniform, put through the wash cycle and check if any alterations are necessary. Nothing makes a new student stick out like a sore thumb than an awkwardly fitting uniform — it’s definitely the last thing any child would want.

Read Up on the Co-Curricular Activities Offered

Studies aside, Co-curricular activities (CCAs) will be a key part of students’ lives. CCAs not only expand students’ learning and experiences, it’s also another way for your child to forge bonds with friends beyond their class. Have your child read up on the CCAs offered in the school, so they’ll have an idea of what appeals to them, whether it’s sports, performing arts, clubs, societies or uniformed groups.

Talk to Them About What to Expect

Entering Secondary School marks the entry into a stage where kids will be dealing with a truckload of new opportunities and responsibilities, from a new social system to the increased academic workload. Talk to your child about what lies ahead. Keep them apprised of common teen issues they might face eventually — changes during puberty, peer pressure etc — and remind them that they always have someone to turn to and talk about these things.

As parents, you must recognise that your child will become more independent as they navigate this new stage of their lives. Your role is to guide, support, and also give them the space to grow.