Tips for preparing your child to start school

If you have a child getting ready to start school in September then you’re probably a bundle of nerves right now. 

My eldest daughter will be starting infant school in just a few weeks and I can’t quite believe we’ve reached this milestone already. 

The final weeks of preparation for school are mostly about getting your child ready, but I think it’s also for you as a parent. It’s a big mental and practical adjustment for the entire family!

So we’ve been doing a few things at home and when we’re out and about to try to get my daughter ready for her first day of school. 

I thought I would share a few tips that we’re using to get ready. I would love it if you shared some of your own suggestions for getting ready for school in the comments!

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Be very positive about starting school

This is the number one thing to do as a parent to help your child. If you’re excited, upbeat and positive about the experience, then that enthusiasm will rub off on your child. 

If you were disappointed about the school choice that you ended up with, don’t speak about this in front of your child. Save conversations about the school application for when they’re in bed, as they will pick up on your worry and it will make them feel negative about school.

Speak to them about where they’re going, the colour of the uniform and what their new routine will be like. Make it all sound fun and remind them that they’ll be making lots of new friends and doing so much more things once they’re at school. 

Read books about starting primary school

There are some lovely books out there about primary school and what to expect. 

Reading these books will make primary school seem like a fun prospect and make your child feel positive about it. It will also help to prepare them for what is to come. The more you can speak to your child about starting school and what’s going to happen, the better. 

I’ve been reading my daughter the Topsy and Tim start school book and this one:

Take them past the school as often as you can

You may not have taken your child on the school tours when you were choosing a school, or they may just not have a great memory of it. Get them used to the place they will be going and the trip to school by driving by or walking as often as possible. 

I’ve been driving us past the school my daughter will be attending whenever I can. We pause for a little while and watch the kids if they’re in the playground. 

Let your child pick out their school bag

Make a big deal out of picking out your child’s things for school and get them involved with it. 

Let them choose colours and designs they love and show them how you’ve labelled their things. This makes a fun activity in the build up to school and will encourage your child to look after their possessions as they’ve had a hand in picking them out. 

Tips for preparing your child to start school

Find out when the school’s summer fete is being held

If you can attend, it’s a nice way to meet staff and other parents. It will also help your child to become familiar with the school grounds before they begin their classes. 

Remind your child that the summer fete is a fun day, and not quite what school will be like every single day! They won’t always be able to get their face painted and use the bouncy castle. 

Encourage your child’s independence 

Teachers are there to support the children but there are certain things that your little one will be expected to do on their own. 

This includes using the loo and washing their hands, putting on their shoes and getting dressed. 

My daughter isn’t great with a knife AND fork yet (she’s fine with just the fork) so I’ll be working on that with her for the next few weeks. 

Organise playdates with other kids

If you know other children who are going to be at school with your child then try to meet up with them in the weeks before school starts. 

Having familiar faces around will make them feel happier when they arrive on their first day. 

Control your emotions

It can be easy to break down in tears at the thought of sending your child off to school.

I’m going to hold the tears in until after she’s out of sight when I drop her off. 

This is a huge step forward for a four-year-old, and for you as their parent, but it’s a natural progression that everyone goes through. 

Remember that in just a few weeks they will have settled in to their new routine and you’ll feel a lot more relaxed about it all too. 

Tips for preparing your child to start school

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