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If your child is making the jump from primary school to secondary school, it's normal to feel excited for them – and also a little nervous!

We've got a few tips for things you can do over the holidays to help them get ready to start their new school – everything from helping first-day jitters by getting a bit of exercise, to playing on a calculator to see who can make the most words.  

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Fun ways to get them ready for school

Tip #1: Get moving

Image of a child's feet running on a playground.

Keeping active is a good way to spend some time together, get some exercise, and is the perfect way to prepare for a big change like starting school. Take the time to do something together over the summer – like going for walks. Grab a water bottle and stay hydrated. 

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Tip #2: Reorganise their room

Helping them to reorganise their room can be a great way to clear out all the stuff they don't use anymore, and can make them feel more "grown up".

Encourage them to draw a plan of the layout before and after using a ruler and protractor to make them as accurate as possible. It's a fun way to get them used to measuring things and using their protractors before they use them in the classroom. And you get a tidy room at the same time! 

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Tip #3: Calculator messages

Image of a hand holding a pink calculator upside down.

Help get them used to the buttons on the scientific calculator by seeing who can make the numbers 1-20, using only the digit '4' and the operations buttons (e.g. + and -). You could even put a time limit on it!

And what childhood would be complete without sending each other secret messages on a calculator? 

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Tip #4: I wish my teacher knew...

Image of a lined notebook with a pen sitting on top.

Just like you, your child might be feeling just a little bit nervous about their first day of school. Writing down their thoughts, feelings and ideas as they make the move up to secondary school is a good way to express that.

One thing they can do is to think about what they'd like their new teachers to know about them. 

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Fun ways to keep the kids engaged and active over summer

Tip #1: Visit your local library

Not only do you have access to brilliant books at your library – including non-fiction – libraries often have activities and events on throughout the summer. Check your council’s website to see what’s happening in your area. 

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Tip #2: Meet their favourite authors and illustrators

Well, maybe not in person, but Authors Live on the Scottish Book Trust website gives kids the opportunity to meet authors and illustrators like David Walliams and Chris Riddell virtually. 
Choose from one of many on-demand videos here:

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Tip #3: Get closer to nature

Getting out and about in nature is a great way to lift everyone's spirits. Scottish Wildlife Trust has lots of great ideas for getting closer to nature at home and when you’re out and about. How about making salt dough with natural dyes or creating your own mini beast safari?

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Tip #4: Have fun learning online

There are lots of ways to learn online that don’t feel like learning at all! The BBC Bitesize website has lots of great games, free videos, step-by-step guides, activities and quizzes by level and subject for your child to have a go at.

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More tips for parents

Health and wellbeing for your child

The move from primary to secondary school can be a big jump, and can also mean a jump from your child being a wee kid to becoming a young person with their own opinions and interests. Our section on supporting older children and teens has lot of advice on supporting them as they grow up, from dealing with conflict to helping them cope with issues like making friends and bullying. 

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Online safety

As parents, we do everything we can to keep our children safe. We hold their hand crossing the road. We teach them not to talk to strangers. We do our best every day. But when it comes to online safety, it can be hard to know where to start. The good news is, the steps you can take to keep your child safe online are the same as the ones you use to protect them offline.

Our section on online safety guides you through the steps you can take to help keep your child safe online, as well as looking at what you can do if your child has a negative experience.

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Money and support

If you’re looking for help with the practical side of things, and for money advice, you may find the following support useful:

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For help with getting your child to and from school and to find out more about free school transport options, check out these websites:

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