Help Your Child Have A Positive Transition From Primary School to Secondary School

    • Go through the daily plan with them. Preparation is key.
    • Advise them to have their uniform, schoolbag and lunch ready the night before – this will help to keep things calm and give them time to get themselves ready.
    • Starting the day upset and stressed does not help anyone in the house, especially at a time when everything is so new.
    • It is very important that they are happy with their own appearance (uniform, shoes, hair etc.), as feeling socially confident is very important to them around their peers.
    • Help them to organise their books in a way that makes is easier for them to access from school lockers. They could have a folder for each subject, marked with that subject name; this makes it very easy for them to pick up the relevant books before their class.
    • If they come home upset, angry, lashing out at you (parent/carer), try not to take it personally. This can be a time when they are finding it hard to settle in and sometimes they do not know if they look right, sound right etc., the only person they can take this out on, is usually you! This can be very hard to take but try to understand they really don’t mean it, they are just adjusting and hopefully this will balance out. I would suggest you take a few deep breaths, walk around the house but try not to rise to the bait. I have gone through this a number of times myself and this was advice I received from a friend and one I did have to use on many occasions.
    • Try to keep things calm around the house for the first few weeks. The most important thing at this stage is that they feel confident that they fit in, they feel they belong and, most importantly, that they are happy.
    • I suggest you let your adolescent/teen know that if and when they would like to invite someone over to your home, they are very welcome, but try to refrain from asking them if they want to ask someone over, on a weekly basis. You may get a reply like. “They are not that kind of friend, we don’t do that”. This is very normal. It can take until 2nd or 3rd year for many students to be comfortable asking someone home. Sometimes you can put pressure on them, without meaning to, by asking these questions over and over. It can make them feel inadequate, feel upset because they are not doing what you think they should be doing. Although they might act like you are the devils advocate, they will always be aware of your opinion and they generally care a lot more than you think.
    • Adolescents/young teens are at a stage, psychologically, when they feel they have to move away from the parent/carer, become more independent, but they also know they need you. This can be very confusing for them and for you. Just remember this is a normal phase and many of the actions of adolescents/teens can also be hormonal. Communication is everything. If talking fails, text or write to them, it does not matter what form communication works for you once you are communicating in some way. Try to remember how you felt when you started Secondary school; what worried you, what made you feel secure?
    “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”
    • You will know if your child is having trouble settling in – trust your own intuition – look for some of these signs;
    o   Not wanting to take part in after school activities
    o   Not joining others on social outings
    o   Spending a lot of time in their room alone
    o   Being quieter than normal
    o   Becoming very angry when you talk about friends, socialising.
    • If for any reason you feel your child is having a hard time, I would suggest you contact the relevant year head. All of the schools I have worked with have a wonderful 1st year team and are very aware of the hardships that may occur at this time.
    • Jumpstart also runs “Transition to Secondary School” workshops, on a one to one basis or in small groups, in Cork city.
    If you have any queries relating to any of the above or wish to book a workshop with Jumpstart, please call Eileen @ 0868112110 or email to

    Eileen Keane,
    35a Mary St.
    +353 (0)86 811 2110

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