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How can I prepare my child for starting school?

Posted by Be Well

How can I prepare my child for starting school?
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The first day at school is a big step. Your child may seem excited, scared or even unconcerned but there are plenty of things you can do to prepare them.


The more you find out about your child's school beforehand, the better you will be able to help them enjoy the experience.

Try to go to an open day or evening to meet the teachers and talk to parents who already have children at the school. Check what your child will need on the first day in the way of uniform, bag, lunch and sports kit and involve your child in choosing them.

Your child may be anxious about what to expect on the first day. You can help by talking to them about what they will be doing during the school day. Explain what might be happening at different times of the day at play times and lunch times for example. Try and emphasise the things they may enjoy doing at school, and encourage them to talk about what they think school might be like. This can help you to deal with any questions or fears they might have.

Practice the sort of activities they will be doing to help make their first few days less of a shock. Before school starts, play games that involve taking turns or speaking in front of others. Painting or drawing can get your child used to sitting down for short periods of time. Reading books about starting school or using their favorite toys to act out their first day, can make the real thing less stressful for them when it arrives.

Other things you might consider include:

  • Get your child used to going to bed earlier and get them up at the normal school time. Young children need 10-12 hours of sleep a night and school is likely to make them more tired than normal.
  • Try and make sure that your child is used to playing with other children of a similar age to help them to develop their social skills.
  • Help your child to practice dressing and using the toilet on their own.
  • Teach them to wash their hands properly to help prevent them picking up illnesses.

Health conditions

If your child has a health condition such as asthma or a food allergy, you should work with the school and your doctor to plan for any problems that may arise. Make sure the school has a contact number for you in case of emergency.

Their first day

When the first day arrives you may feel more anxious than your child. Try not to let this show as they may pick up on it and begin to feel anxious too.

Let your child know that although you will be leaving them at school you will be coming back to pick them up soon. Make sure they know exactly where you will be meeting them after school and that they should not leave that spot.

After school, ask them about their day. Be positive and encouraging about the things they have been doing and listen carefully to any worries they may have. After a few days, talk to your child's teacher to see how they are getting on and whether there is anything you can do at home to make your child's school life easier.

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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