How do I prepare my child for the first day of school?

One of the first major life milestones that your child will experience is going to school. This can be a very big jump for even the most confident of child. It will be a big change for your child as well. They will be used to spending the majority of their time with you or a family member.

Some parents decide to send their children to nursery before school. This doesn’t always make the transition to school easier. School won’t be quite as fun as going to nursery as your child will have less play and more seated time.

Thankfully, making sure that your child easily transitions to school without any tears of anxiety. You will just need to make sure that you start preparing them well in advance. That way moving up to school isn’t too much of a shock for them on their first day.

Worries

A child going to school for the first time isn’t just something that your son or daughter will have to deal with. You might feel a bit stressed and anxious about the big transition as well. Thankfully, this isn’t all that unusual.

Many parents often worry about how their child will cope with their first day at school. Parents worry that their child might cry when they drop them off for their first day. They worry they might struggle when it comes to making friends. They worry they could be too shy. There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself as well. 

Preparing for school

So, if you are ready to start preparing your child and yourself for their first day at school then you might want to read through this blog post. Here are our top tips to ensure that your child is well prepared for their first day of school.

Buy Them A School Uniform

Unless they are starting nursery then you will need to buy your child a school uniform. To prevent your child from getting in trouble on their first day for not wearing it, you will need to make sure that you buy the various pieces. More often than not, your child will need to wear grey or black trousers or skirt and a polo shirt and jumper with the school’s logo on.

Of course, every school is different when it comes to their uniform policy. It’s best to check in advance to make sure you get it right. Some ask for ties and shirts, particularly private schools. The school will probably email out information about their uniform some time leading up to the start date. Often this is sent out aroumd May or June before the end of the last school year. We have prepared a back to school essentials list and a starting school checklist for you.

Most schools often team up with a local clothing business. They will get this firm to create their specific logo t-shirts and sweaters, so you might only be able to buy them from one place. However, when it comes to the more generic uniform pieces, like grey or black trousers and smart shoes, you will have a bit more flexibility about where you can buy them from.

Once you have bought the uniform, you just need to make sure that it is clean and has been ironed before your child’s very first day at school. Also that is is labelled. More about that later.

Get Them A PE Kit

Don’t forget that your child will probably need a PE kit for school as well. Some schools will have a specific kit that they will require their pupils to wear. For instance, the children might need to wear a t-shirt with the school’s logo on. If this is the case, it will be mentioned in the information that your school send regarding their first day and school life.

Most of the time, though, many primary schools just require their pupils to wear shorts, a t-shirt and plimsolls for their PE lessons. It shouldn’t matter too much about what colour or style these should be. If you are ever in any doubt, though, you should always reach out to the school to ask them. 

Boot bags are a great idea for your child to be able to find their own PE shoes. There’s a name on the shoes AND a name on the boot bag!

Get Measured For School Shoes

It’s often a good idea to take your child to get their feet measured when you are buying them new school shoes. That way, you know that the shoes will fit them well. Then there is no risk of them being uncomfortable or will cause any painful blisters while they are at school. Most shoe shops will be more than happy to measure your child’s feet for free.

school-shoes-with-shoe-labels
Starting school? Shoe labels for black school shoes or PE plimsoles

Label School Clothing

If there is one thing that you can be sure of, it is that your child will probably lose a few of their belongings during their time at school. This can be very annoying for parents as it means that they need to keep on replacing clothing and items if their child is particularly forgetful. It can also be quite upsetting for the child if they lose something that was their favourite. They may also think this will get them in trouble with their parents.

There is one way you can make it easier for your child to get any lost items back – you just need to use these great label packs. You can personalise the labels with your child’s name and then stick, iron or sew them into their school uniform. If any item then ends up in the school’s lost property or another child accidentally takes it home with them, it should quickly be returned to you. On a tight budget? Try the stick on clothing labels for anything and maybe combine with a shoe labels pack.

Practice Waking Up Early

One thing that it can be really difficult for children to get used to is needing to wake up early every day. This might be a particular struggle for them at first. They will still be getting used to a change in their routine and the long days spent at school. Children starting school can be very tired for a few weeks. Thankfully, after a couple of weeks of getting up in time for school, their mind and body should start to adjust. 

If you know that your child isn’t much of a morning person, then you might want to practice waking up early. If you do this in the week or two before they start school it helps. This gives them the chance to get used to it before it really matters! Putting them to bed earlier than normal helps with that adjustment. One great tip is to give them their own alarm clock so that you don’t have to pop your head around their door to wake them up every morning.

Create A School Routine

One thing you should do right from day one is to create a school routine for your child. You will need a routine for in the morning as this can help to ensure that you all get ready to leave for school on time. Part of this routine should include having breakfast together as a family.

Ensuring that your child has breakfast before they leave for school means that they won’t end up too hungry in the morning before lunch.  Having something healthy is also a great way to start the day. This will also make sure that they are full of energy for what lies ahead. By enjoying breakfast together as a family, you will be turning it into a social day. Everyone will have time to talk to one another before you head off on your different days. Teachers often complain of lack of concentration due to children not eating in the morning.

You will also need to set up an evening routine as well. For instance, there needs to be an hour or so set aside after dinner when your child can get on with their homework without being disturbed. During this time, you might want to limit their use of TVs and game consoles so that they don’t have anything distracting their attention away from their homework.

Help Your Child To Socialise By Arranging Play Dates

If your child is shy, you might understandably be worried about them mixing with the other children in their class and making friends. There is one way you can make the social aspect of school easier for them – you just need to arrange a few play dates with other children for them before they do start attending school. For example, if any of your friends have children who are a similar age, then why not arrange to meet up at the park. You can have a catchup with your friend and the kids can enjoy playing together.

Talk To Them About What To Expect

It is really important that you regularly talk to your child about school when they are getting ready for their first day. You should let them know the kinds of things that they should expect while there and what a typical day at school might be like.

When you do talk to your child about school, you should always do so in a positive way. Even if you did not enjoy your time at school, you still should refrain from discussing it in a negative way as this could encourage your child to get worried about it. The more positively you can talk about it then the more likely your child will be to get excited about going.

Be Sure To Visit The School Before Their First Day – before the year end

Almost every school will have a few open days where parents and future pupils can take a look around and meet some of the members of staff. Even though these aren’t obligatory, it is still a really good idea to take your child along to them. Then your child will be able to familiarise themselves with these new surroundings and also meet their new teacher. You might find that this helps you worry less as well as you can see exactly what your child should expect from their very first day.

Always Say Goodbye When Dropping Your Child Off

When the time comes to leave your child at school, make sure that you always say goodbye to them before they go in to class or queue up. Some parents believe that it might be better to sneak off without saying anything when their child is occupied playing with other children. This really isn’t the case, though. You need to say goodbye to your child and ensure them that they will have a good day and you will be there at the end of the day. Otherwise, they might feel like you are abandoning them which could make them very upset.

Make Sure The Dropoff Is Short And Sweet

When you are saying goodbye to your child, you shouldn’t drag it out for any longer than is necessary. Ideally, it should be very short and sweet. If you linger too much then your child could get upset and this could result in tears. Try not to cry whether your child is upset or not. Some mothers get emotional leaving their child at school for the first time. This can then set the child off. So, be strong and don’t shed any tears to make sure your child acts in the exact same way. The teachers will deal with your child if they are upset settling. They are used to this!

Reassure Yourself That Your Child Will Be Fine

Starting reception is a time to make new friends

When you leave your child at school, it’s really important that you tell yourself that your child will be fine. They will have loads of fun learning new things and making a lot of new friends. They will certainly return with a big smile and lots of exciting things to tell you!

Hopefully, all of these useful tips help your child prepare for their first day of school!

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