It may only seem like five minutes since your baby started primary school but now they are getting ready for their next big step.
Day one at secondary school is a huge milestone for both you and your child. It’s their first small step towards independence as they begin to make more of their own decisions.
But it’s only natural that it can also leave you feeling slightly sad as they start relying on you a little less.
Moving to secondary school will often mean them making their own way there and back by bus.
This can feel very strange at first, especially if you’ve always walked with them or dropped them off in the car, and can leave you with a gap in your day.
Also, it’s likely that your child will get a new circle of friends who you have never met. You will no doubt hear names without being able to put a face to them at first.
This means you probably won’t know where they live or what their families are like.
But you can encourage your child to talk about their friends so you learn more about them and invite them over.
It can also be helpful to get their parents’ phone numbers to put your mind at ease, especially if your child goes back to their friend’s house after school.
It’s an important part of growing up so branching out and making new friends should be encouraged – but knowing where they are and being able to contact someone in the case of an emergency is important.
The social side to dropping off and picking up your child may be lost when they move to secondary school as you will no longer be chatting to other mothers and fathers at the gates.
Also, because their primary school was smaller, you were probably invited to attend activities regularly such as assemblies and sports day and spoke to teachers frequently without having to make an appointment.
Now the only time you will probably see your child’s teachers is at parents’ evenings, which can leave you feeling less connected to the school world.
But most schools will want to keep parents updated so they will have a section on their website aimed at keeping you informed, as well as regular newsletters.
Now your child is moving slowly towards independence you will be left with more time on your hands as you are no longer at their beck and call, although you may be called upon to be a ‘taxi’ driver so they can visit their friends.
This may open up opportunities for you to find work or enjoy a hobby.
It will be exciting to watch them take this huge and important step and will be a very proud moment for you as a parent.