12 Steps to Prepare Your Child for Starting School


  1. Go to the school's orientation session or open day with your child.

Find out when the school runs an open day and make the time to attend. This allows the teaching staff to get to know your child as well as your child meeting other children who will be starting in the same year group.  This will also give you the chance to find out about the basic rules regarding school uniforms, what day is sports day and what they have to take with them in their school bag. Lunch box policy and what food or drink items (if any) are not allowed. Learn the standard regulations such as where children are encouraged to play at break time and what procedure the school has in place for dropping off and collection at home time. This will certainly enable you as well as your youngster to be better prepared for what occurs at school.


  1. Try to organise play dates over the summer holidays with children who will be enrolling in the same school.

When children see familiar faces and friends in the class room, it can help them adjust to the social side of starting school and make life a whole lot easier. Having a network of supportive families in a similar situation is helpful. Time taken to develop these relationships as they can be so worth the effort in the long term.


  1. Take into consideration enrolling them in early education, nursery, pre-school or play groups.They are all very useful in developing a child's confidence and equips them with the required skills to start school and ease the transition from play-school to a more structured environment. They will have already attained the skills of colouring, glueing, using a pair of scissors, sitting and listening, as well as contributing to group discussions.

4. Be positive

Chat with your child in a positive and cheery manor about starting school. Books are a terrific way for youngsters to become informed about the idea of starting school. It will get them accustomed to reading which is a beautiful thing allowing the love of books to develope naturally. Write a short story together and use photos of your child to help tell the story. Personalise it with your child's name and the name of their teacher. Lots of children benefit from sharing a book that has been made specifically for them. Spend time reading it together a few weeks before school begins. If your child has any questions or worries, this is when you will be able to address and reassure them.


  1. Monitor your child's response to conversations concerning school.

Note if they react enthusiastically, or with concern and anxiety. Follow their lead as much as possible, addressing their inquiries, however, information overload can be very overwhelming for a young child. Don't be concerned if they seem disinterested, children can find it hard to think about future events in terms of weeks and months.


  1. Address bad behaviour with understanding
Challenging behaviour is a way that kids attempt to inform you of something they're not happy about, so it is very important to establish exactly what your child is trying to tell you. Take this opportunity to teach the child a positive behaviour to replace the negative one and address their underlying concerns.
As soon as your youngster settles in, it is essential to continue to offer support and address any concerns the child may have to aid their development.


  1. Reward positive behaviour.

Apart from their parents and elder family members, this will possibly be the first time they will have to adhere to a person with authority.  They need to learn how to follow the rules and be able to do what the teacher asks, comply with guidelines, and interact appropriately with both teachers and other class mates. Encourage good behaviour with positive expressions of emotions, e.g. Big smiles & hugs, high fives and claps on the back. Some parents will use special sticker charts, stars on a graph or treats (not sweets) such as playing their favourite game with them as a reward for positive behaviour.


8. Routine

Set up a routine which will help your child prepare for school. This routine can be started a week or two before school starts. Make sure to set a specific time for bed and sleep and get them used to waking up at a certain time. Appropriate rest is essential for school it's necessary for concentration and focus. The first few weeks of school can be exhausting for your child, so good sleep practices are vital and should be started in the weeks beforehand. 


  1. Make sure they know how to use the toilet independently.

Explain that at school there might be separate toilets for boys and girls. They should be able to pull up their trousers or tights before leaving the cubicle; it may be the first time a boy has come across a urinal. Remember to tell them to wash their hand before returning to the class room, as it is easily forgotten with the excitement of class activities. These are all useful skill you may have already established at home.


  1. Teach them to look after their things.

Ensure that their school bag is easily identified as theirs, put their initials on it and show your child where to look. Make sure that lunch boxes can be easily opened and closed. Ensure that any food packaging can be opened by their little hands. Label their removable clothing with their name so they can identify who it belongs to.


    11. Have some fun and games

Practice having fun games where people need to raise their hand to say something and await their turn to be asked. Help them understand that not everybody gets a chance to talk every time in a class even though they were the first to put up their hand.
Encourage the use pencils and crayons before starting school. While no-one anticipates your youngster to begin school with the art of perfect handwriting, the ability to use a pencil or crayon would be an advantage.  Help them to recognise and write their own first name as one of the first things they'll discover how to do at school is write their name on their work.


12. Dropping off at the school gate.

Being able to say good bye without tears and tantrums is your ultimate goal. Some children will just take it in their stride and walk away from you with out even a backward glance; others could try to rugby tackle you by the gate to prevent you from leaving. Only you know your child, and the teacher is there to make it as stress-free as possible. They will understand how anxious parents feel on the first day, so don't be afraid to ask for advice. Within a few days, your child will wonder what all the fuss was about.