5 Mindfulness-based Tips to Prepare Your Child for the 1st Day at Secondary School

So tomorrow sees September upon us.  A time when lots of people start thinking about the start of the new academic year.

It can be an exciting, but also stressful time – especially for those children who are starting a new school.

During my 15 years of teaching I have welcomed many new Year 7 students into the classroom and they often appear positive and keen.

However it would only be natural for even the most enthusiastic and confident eleven year old to feel some nerves on the first day of their secondary school career.

So here is some advice about how parents can help their children prepare for this.

  1. Remind them to STOP.  This is an acronym for being still, taking a breath and noticing this breath, observing how they are feeling in that moment and then proceeding with their day hopefully feeling a little calmer.  They can do this exercise anywhere at anytime.  On the bus or in car on the way to school, queuing up to enter a classroom or for lunch, or sitting in the classroom. STOP.jpg
  2. Encourage your child to practice finger breathing. Perhaps first thing in the morning to calm nerves, and at any other time it may be needed.  Spending just a couple of minutes doing this exercise (see below and here for a video demo I found on You Tube ) will help anyone feel a little more grounded.finger breathing
  3.  Talk to your child about the phrase ‘thoughts are not necessarily facts’. Discuss how just because other children may appear relaxed and confident they are probably feeling a little wobbly on the inside too!  Encourage empathy.
  4. thoughsnotfactsWrite your child a letter to be given to them the night before they start their new school.  Read it aloud to them – something like this.  Use it as a chance to highlight all their strengths and achievements at primary school.  Include as many specific examples as possible.  Letters like these are extremely powerful and the letter can be treasured and read again and again.  love letter
  5.  Tell them  about mindful walking which can be done on their way to school, as they enter the school gate or between lessons.  It’s a chance to take a moment to ‘just be’ and connect with the senses rather than allowing the mind to race on to the next thing going on in their day.  The trick is to really feel their feet on the ground, look around them  drinking in their environment at that moment, listen to the sounds at that time with real curiosity and notice any smells and tastes there may be there if this applies.  THE

Good luck to all embarking on their secondary school careers next week!  And to the parents too.

  I hope everyone has a super start to the new school year XX.

If you are interested in your child developing a deeper mindfulness practice to help well-being then please encourage your child’s school to consider working with a qualified mindfulness practitioner.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me here    to discuss how I may be able to help further. 

handwritten Hayley


A Blogging Good Time

31 Comments

    • onamindfulmummymission
      August 31, 2017 / 9:42 pm

      Yes definitely – good for the teachers too! xx

  1. August 31, 2017 / 6:08 pm

    I have written a blog post on how to settle in a new child from an early years professionals point of view, rather than the parents

  2. August 31, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    Some great tips and pointers, so many nervous year sevens on the first day! I might even try the finger breathing with my eldest who starts primary this September! #ablogginggoodtime

    • onamindfulmummymission
      August 31, 2017 / 9:40 pm

      Oooh yes do – it works for any age! I hope the start goes smoothly for him xx

  3. September 1, 2017 / 12:29 pm

    I am so bookmarking this for my big lad as we will need this next year. Thank you for sharing on #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 3, 2017 / 3:33 pm

      No worries – so pleased it’ll come in use xx

  4. September 2, 2017 / 7:03 am

    Some brilliant tips here. I really believe kids should be taught all about mindfulness. It’s such a useful tool #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 3, 2017 / 3:32 pm

      Totes agree xx

  5. September 2, 2017 / 8:51 am

    Just popping back to say that I am also going to use some of your mindful techniques and try and teach some bits here in Portugal #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 3, 2017 / 3:31 pm

      That’s BRILLIANT – so pleased xx

  6. mackenzieglanville
    September 2, 2017 / 10:15 am

    I absolutely love this post and your ideas here. Although Aspen started high school in February I think se will still very much benefit from this post, thank you #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 3, 2017 / 3:30 pm

      No worries – pleased they may be of use xx

  7. September 2, 2017 / 10:51 am

    Some great tips here, I think I’ll be needing these ! Thanks for hosting this linky x

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 3, 2017 / 3:30 pm

      Pleasure xx

  8. September 2, 2017 / 12:57 pm

    Finger breathing is such a great idea- would be helpful in a whole range of situations. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 3, 2017 / 3:30 pm

      Yep this is the go-to exercise for so many young people and adults! xx

  9. September 2, 2017 / 7:35 pm

    OH I remember the night before my first day of school I didn’t feel too nervous but I came out in a really horrible rash – you’re body can do strange things to you. Some excellent tips here, I haven’t heard of STOP before but I will be taking it with me #thatsatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 3, 2017 / 3:29 pm

      Oooh that is strange about the rash! Yes I love the STOP exercise for me too! xx

  10. fatherlee1986
    September 3, 2017 / 8:26 am

    Great tips. I’ll be here next year! #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 3, 2017 / 3:28 pm

      Ooooh hoep Y6 goes well!

  11. September 4, 2017 / 7:37 pm

    #thesatsesh ouch! what happened to GnT to chill nanny out…yup not my son, me BUT NANNY! lol. these words are vey true and I’m going to pen him a little note now x

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 5, 2017 / 9:53 pm

      Awwww I bet he loved the note xx

  12. September 5, 2017 / 6:38 am

    This is such a brilliant post. And also slightly strange in that I seem to have recited some of it to my son last night without having read it 😂 Great minds clearly think alike 😉
    My son has always hated school (he’s fine when he’s there) and going back after the holidays is a big deal. He was getting upset last night running through all the horrible things that might happen and I talked to him about not focusing on anything other than what was true right in that moment. He could acknowledge his feelings but should know they’re not always true so shift to just the things he could see, hear, taste, touch and smell. He resisted against it for a while, insisting he couldn’t but after a few minutes he did visibly calm down and was able to go to bed. It may take some practice but I definitely think it’s a technique that could really help him x
    #Thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 5, 2017 / 9:53 pm

      Awwww – well done for taking the time and patience for helping him try to not do the ‘mental time travel’ which can cause us all such angst. Sounds like you did some important groudwork there and it’s something you can keep referring to with him now. Finger breathing could be something that helps him too. Am going to DM you on twitter something. xx

  13. September 5, 2017 / 8:59 am

    I like the ‘thoughts are not facts’ tip – that’s so true with everything #ablogginggoodtime

  14. September 5, 2017 / 9:31 am

    Some really good tips here. I practise mindful walking when I’m feeling anxious. #TheSatSesh

  15. September 9, 2017 / 8:33 am

    Some really useful tips here. I really like ‘thoughts are not facts’, we could all do with remembering that one xx #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 11, 2017 / 11:26 am

      Yes it is a very powerful statement for us all to take on board! xx

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