Top Tips for Surviving Year 6 at School (& Smiggle giveaway)

This post features a mix of product placement with Smiggle and products we bought ourselves.

 Top Tips for Surviving Year 6 at School (& Smiggle giveaway)

Year Six is a big year for many children. In Northumberland's two-tier system, you are the oldest children in the school which comes with added responsibilities, it's the final year of Primary school and you may be saying goodbye to some of your closest friends if they're off to a different Secondary School, there's the anxious wait to see if you've been accepted to your first choice Secondary School, transition days to survive and that's before we even mention Key Stage 2 SATs. I've been through all of this with Harry a few years ago and now it's Heidi's turn to face the challenge that is year 6.

Top Tips For Surviving Year 6

Encourage Independence 

The leap from Primary to Secondary School is huge. Primary School feels like a lovely soft cacoon whereas Secondary is HUGE. At the moment, Heidi walks to school with us in the morning and sometimes walks home with her friends/sometimes walks home with us on an evening. Our route crosses no roads and is all along one cycle path filled with other parents/friends who I know. The route to Secondary School is very different - there are roads, people I don't know, shops to walk through and it's a longer route too. Heidi is fairly independent now and will go to the shops/swimming/the cinema with Harry but this year I'll be focussing on checking she's ready for this extra independence without her big brother being there in preparation for the transition to Secondary School. It will be here before we know it!

 Top Tips for Surviving Year 6 at School (& Smiggle giveaway)

A Healthy Diet is Essential

Year 6 students have a lot of pressure on their shoulders and I think a healthy diet is more important than ever this year. Heidi has a mix of school dinners and packed lunches at the moment and we're really going to focus on making the right choices - when Harry first started Secondary School and had his own money to make his own food choices, his diet really wasn't the best and I don't want Heidi to follow this path.

 Top Tips for Surviving Year 6 at School (& Smiggle giveaway) - Smiggle Water Bottle
Smiggle Water Bottle 

 Top Tips for Surviving Year 6 at School (& Smiggle giveaway) - Smiggle Sandwich Box and Backpack
Smiggle Sandwich Box and Backpack 

I'm also keen for Heidi to stay hydrated and drink more water this year. Drinking plenty of water is obviously important for overall health but can also boost exam grades.  Like most schools, Heidi has access to drinking water whenever she wants to and I'm hoping this lovely Smiggle Water Bottle will sit on her desk throughout the day and encourage her to regularly take a sip.

Create a Workspace at Home

At the beginning of year 5, Heidi was not great with her homework and would constantly forget to complete it, hand it in late or it would be a huge battle at home that caused us lots of stress. This was quickly nipped in the bud and after having a chat with Heidi and her teacher, things improved massively and she was like a different child by the end of the year - super conscientious and always completing her homework to the best standard and on time. I don't want Heidi to slip into bad habits again at the start of this year after the summer break, especially as the workload in heavier in year 6. I am going to spend the next few weeks clearing our desk space in the conservatory so she always has a place to study.

Refresh Rules for Devices 

My three kids all have electronic devices and I'm fine with that but there are rules associated with allowing your kids access to the online world when they are tweens. I actually think phones/tablets receive a lot of unnecessary press and sometimes feel like the way the media portrays the use of devices amongst children in very unfair. As well as working hard, it's important to have downtime during year 6 and Heidi loves popping her headphones on and watching craft videos on YouTube after dinner. The start of the school year is a good time to go over online rules and safety measures with your children so it's fresh in their mind so we'll be re-writing and going over our own rules soon.

 Top Tips for Surviving Year 6 at School (& Smiggle giveaway) - Smiggle Foldaway Headphones

A Decent School Bag is a must

In the 2019/20 academic year. Key Stage 2 SATs will take place from Monday 11 May - Thursday 14 May. You can find out more about SATs here. I have my own personal view on SATs (mostly that they should be scrapped and that there is far too much pressure on kids and schools to hit targets rather than focus on the individual child), but they're here to stay for the time being. Heidi will be carrying more work and revision to and from school this year and a decent backpack is a must. Heidi has had the same Smiggle backpack (which we paid for), for the past three years and it is still perfect. I often receive compliments about it when people see it in a photo.

 Top Tips for Surviving Year 6 at School (& Smiggle giveaway) - Smiggle Backpack
Smiggle Backpack

It is supportive, stylish, roomy (there are 8 different compartments in her the bag featured above) and lots of fun which matches Heidi's personality too. Smiggle backpacks are a little pricey but I can hand on heart recommend them for their quality and how long they last. Heidi has only replaced hers this year as she loves her Smiggle backpack so much and is sick of emptying it on the weekends we travel (she uses her Smiggle backpack as her travel bag too as you can get loads in) so now she has two versions of the same bag. The best way to buy a Smiggle backpack is as part of a back to school bargain bundle or wait until a Smiggle sale which is what we did.

Heidi's Smiggle backpack is 3 years old and still as good as new - pictured on an adventure in Leeds this summer

Don't Book a Term Time Holiday

I have my views on term-time holidays (which you can read here) but there are certain times when I don't think booking a term-time holiday is appropriate or the right thing to do and year 6 is one of those times. It's such an important time with school transitions and SATs and I think attendance is more important than ever in year 6.

Stationery, Stationery, Stationery 

Heidi and her friends are at that age where they are obsessed with stationery. All of the girls in her class have the same hardtop pencil case in various different styles. We bought Heidi's for Christmas a few years ago Heidi uses her own money to buy refills or asks her grandparents for Smiggle stationery if they ask what she'd like for her birthday. I don't mind a stationery obsession too much - there are worse things she could be spending her pocket money on and I'm just pleased she's prepared and has all of the tools she needs to do well at school. Scented pens and pencils seem to be all the rage with tweens at the moment so I'll be treating Heidi to a few from the range before she goes back to school.

There is a lot of pressure on kids in year 6 to do well but what will be will be. I won't be pressuring Heidi at all this year and have faith that I have provided her with the tools and skills to do the best she can and as long as she tries her best, I'll be proud of her whatever the outcome (and Heidi knows this). 

Check out my other back to school posts here: 

Smiggle Giveaway

I am giving away a £10 Smiggle Gift Card to one lucky reader. Just in time for back to school. To enter, simply enter via the Rafflecopter below. Good luck! UK delivery & over 18s only. Giveaway ends midnight, 31/8/19. 


1 comment

  1. Year 6 was the year I moved to England from an American school abroad and found it extremely difficult, thankfully it was a three tier system them so had time to settle in to middle school before moving again but i definitely felt the pressure! All great advice!


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