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Helping Your Child Transitioning from Primary School to Secondary School

Mar 14, 2023
Learning, School

Even though the transition from primary to secondary school is exciting and marks a new phase in the child’s life, it is equally intimidating. Besides adapting to the changes in the educational environment, the child is required to undergo physical and psychological changes that come with entering adolescence.  

Luckily, as a parent, you can assist your kid in effectively managing the ups and downs this new phase brings using the tips suggested in this blog. Other things we will learn in this blog include,


● Common mistakes parents make during the kid’s transition from primary school to higher secondary school

● How GIIS Dubai assists students with the transition


Let’s begin!


Tips For Helping Your Child Transitioning From Primary School To Secondary School


1- Be Verbal About The Transition To Secondary School

The primary to secondary school transition is more or less like a rite of passage. It may be exciting but can be daunting, too, especially for kids with special educational needs. 

As a parent, you can do a lot to help your kid with this transition. First of all, start by chatting about how he or she feels. Reassure them that being nervous is a normal thing, and so is feeling sad at leaving things that are familiar. 

Consider talking about the exciting opportunities that are waiting for them, like new activities, friends, subjects, etc.


2- Make Your Child Familiar With The New School

Nowadays, conducting inductions has become a common thing. Ensure that you attend such events along with your kid to meet with teachers and find out about the school layout. 

The aim is to minimise the unknowns, thereby reducing anxiety from day one. 

3- Prepare The Kid For School in Advance

Ensure that you use the summer before secondary school starts wisely. This way, you and your kid have fewer things to stress about at the last minute. 

Purchase the uniform and school stationeries in advance. 

As a secondary school student, your kid might want to travel independently. You can run a few trails with them and then allow him or them to travel solo or with a friend. 

4- Assist in Developing Independence And Organisation

Secondary school demands will be higher. Hence, preparation in advance is key to helping the kid build his or her skills and confidence. This can also allow your kid to settle a lot quicker. 

Avoid doing everything for your kid. If you think a certain task is manageable by your kid, let him or her do it independently. 

Also, start developing an independent organisation by leaving behind post-it notes on what needs to be done. Also, instil the habit of preparing bags, school uniforms, etc., for the next day. 

5- Retain A Few Reassuring Routines

In the exhausting early days of secondary school, a few reassuring routines can be comforting. For instance, contact with a trusted old friend will help your kid if he or she finds it difficult to make new friends. Also, enjoying familiar activities can offer relevant relief from the new changes. 

Changes are overwhelming. If your kid throws him or herself towards these changes, good, but if he or she doesn’t, don’t worry. Give your kid time to adjust and relax. 

6- Reassess The Boundaries

As your kid begins secondary school, there will be rapid changes in the landscape. For starters, he or she may have friends you’ve never met. They may ask your permission to go out, play new computer games, watch certain older movies, etc. 

Of course, this all may seem enraging, but you must know that it is normal, especially for kids in secondary school. 


As a parent, you need to reassess the boundaries you have set and make them age appropriate. 

It is time to encourage independence while reminding your kid about the corresponding responsibilities that come with independence. 

7- Give The Transition A Little Time

Most parents believe that an initial couple of months are enough for kids to settle in the new environment. However, this concept doesn’t apply to every kid. For some kids adapting to new changes can be overwhelming, meaning it may take them a couple of months to settle. 

As a parent, your job is to offer your kid reassurance while he or she navigates the transition. 

8- Help Your Kid Build New Friendship

Whether your kid is going to attend secondary education at his or her existing school or a new one, ensure you talk about building friendships. It is important to remind your kid that the other kids are going through a similar situation, too. 

Encourage your kid to join extracurriculars. Perhaps that would help them meet peers with similar interests. 

9- Help Your Kid Explore His or Her Feelings

It is important that have an open conversation with your kid about exploring both negative and positive feelings. Assure him or her that you are always available to talk about anything. 

Conversations can pave the way to less stressful days and more managed emotions.

Common Mistakes By The Parents

Transitioning from primary school to secondary school is challenging for parents and children alike. 

Listed below are a few of the mistakes parents end up making during this period –

1- Not Preparing Their Child

One of the most common mistakes parents of students moving from primary school to secondary school make is not preparing the kid at all. 

Even though children are resilient, they aren’t capable of understanding the changes and adapting to them. 

It is crucial you have a one-on-one conversation with your kid about what changes might take place and how he or she can handle the same. 

2- Not Being Involved or Supportive

Keep in mind, besides the educational shift, your kid might be undergoing physical and psychological changes, too. He or she may feel happy and confident one minute but slip to feeling nervous and anxious the very next. 

As a parent, it is your job to display your support in every way possible. 

3- Thinking The Child is Capable of Handling Things

Just because your child is no longer a primary school kid doesn’t mean he or she has turned into a responsible adult. 

Your kid will still need you around for even the most basic things. 

Letting your kid handle the new changes on his or her own will only overwhelm him or her.  

4- Maintaining Higher Expectations

Keep in mind every child is unique. Just because another kid (same as your kid’s age) is doing better in school doesn’t mean your kid is incapable. It just means that your kid’s needs are a little different. 

Consider understanding those needs and then set your expectations accordingly.  

Role Of GIIS Dubai in Helping Students Transition To Secondary School


GIIS Dubai – a leading international school, ensures the transitioning from primary school to secondary school is smooth for every kid. 

● GIIS has pastoral and academic care systems developed that allow offering support to the students throughout the first year and not just during the first term. 

● They focus on monitoring the well-being and progress of students and proactively provide support to students who need it. 

● They support the successful transition by hosting orientation and communications programs, making both parents and students familiar with the school environment and the staff. 

● GIIS ensures to stay in touch with parents to make them aware of their kid’s performance and other vital things. 


Wrapping up

Oftentimes, even adults find it challenging to accept changes in life, let alone a kid. The shift from primary school to secondary school is bound to make your kid excited yet nervous. 

As a parent, you can take all the right steps to ensure your kid isn’t overwhelmed due to these new changes. A little TLC from your end will go a long way in helping your child adapt promptly and seamlessly. 


Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take For A Child To Adjust To A New School?

Every child is different. Some adjust to new changes in life in a few weeks, while others can take months. 

As a parent, offer reassurance while your kid navigates through the changes and adjusts to the new school.


Why is It Difficult For Students To Adapt From Primary School To Secondary School?

The transition from primary to secondary school is more difficult because the students undergo significant social, emotional, and cognitive changes. 


Does Changing Primary Schools Affect A Child?

Yes. In fact, changing primary school can impact the kid emotionally, given he or she is leaving behind friends and previous life. 

Also, changing schools can impact the overall academic results because of the significant shift in teaching styles and curriculum. 


How Do Transitions Affect A Child's Mental Health?

Children are continuously going through the developmental process. Transitions, whether it is from one school to another or from one class to another, can have a huge impact. This is because children get accustomed to a certain schedule. Even a minor hampering in that schedule is bound to create problems, let alone an entire transition. 

A kid who isn’t ready for the change or doesn’t want it to happen will show signs of change in sleep and appetite. May get nervous or throw a fit.  


What Are 3 Reasons Children Might Have Difficulty During Transitions?

It is common for kids with additional learning needs, limited parental support, mental health problems, etc., to feel uncomfortable with transitions.


But, some kids may find the transition difficult due to –

● Challenging or disruptive behaviour.

● Struggle with making new friends.

● Difficulty in coping with daily routines. 


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