Starting School – Getting ready for the big day!

Are you getting your child ready for school? Don’t miss this guest post from daddy blogger and primary school teacher, Daddy Daydream with essential tips on getting your child – and yourself – ready for the Big Day!

daddy daydream

Daddy Daydream with daughter Artemis


Starting school is an incredibly exciting yet undeniably daunting time for parents. As a primary school teacher myself I get to see first hand how the first few days of school play out for the children, parents and staff every September. I know that after birth, crawling, wobbly first steps and first words there is no bigger stage in a child’s development than starting school. Everyone wants those first few days at school to go as well as possible. To achieve the most successful start to school for your children, there’s a lot that you can do to get your little ones, and yourself, ready for the big next step.

Talk about it

The easiest way to get everyone ready for starting school is to discuss it as a family. Make sure that you and your child know what your child’s class teacher will be called – children feel a lot more secure with unknowns when they already know who they will be with. Some schools may have photos of staff on their website, consider exploring the school’s website together and encourage your child to learn some names of key members of staff; their class teacher, the teaching assistant in their class and the head teacher is a great place to start.

Following any initial trips that may have already taken place into school, your child and you will hopefully know some of the fantastic things that they can look forward to playing with in their future classroom.

Read the paperwork

Schools will undoubtedly have sent you a bundle of information for you to sift through. Make sure that you do take the time to read all of this and make a note of any important information such as upcoming dates of events (harvest festival, parents evenings etc.). And, very importantly, make sure that you have a clear understanding of when school is due to start, both the date school reopens after the summer and what hours your child will be doing when they start back.

Every year we have a few children turn up at school for a teacher education day and have an awkward conversation with a deeply embarrassed parent who has failed to read their letters correctly.

When starting in a reception class it is very normal for children to do half days for a period of time at the start of the school year. Every school has a different policy about how long children do half days, or if they do them at all. Again, make sure you’ve done your reading so that you know exactly what hours your child will be doing those first few weeks.

Go shopping

Unfortunately getting ready to start at school can be costly. Top of your list should be the uniform, PE kit and book bag. These are the basics but you may have extra wishes from the school such as a swimming kit etc.

To ensure that you purchase everything that you need, yet again, check the paperwork from the school. It may also help if you know someone already with a child at school to find out where the best place to get uniform from.

Read lots with your child

The best way to get your child ready for school is to make sure that you read together every single day. This will help them to learn a particular key skill that you may not consider they’ll need for school; sitting still for a prolonged period of time.

Sharing a story is a great way of getting children ready for sitting and listening, a skill that they will be needing a lot from now on. Join a local library and let them choose books that they are interested in reading. This may include books that they just want to sit and look at, this is perfectly acceptable. A joy of books is important to develop so don’t agonise over books that you deem suitable for them at this age.

Lots of parents want to give their children the very best start at school and it’s important to be ready to support your child and the school by working with them at home, but it’s important to keep a balance and remember that school is school and home is home,

Don’t talk about it too much

The last thing to bear in mind when preparing for starting school is to try not to discuss it too much as this could build up anxiety in your child. Ensure that conversations about school come up naturally. It’s all too easy to be consumed with thoughts about starting school, both for you and your child.

Starting school is a huge step for children, but the start of a great adventure for them. Enjoy the rest of the summer and best of luck with that first day!

. . .  .  . .



This competition has now closed. Thanks to everyone for their tips, they were great to read! The winners have now been chosen and notified. Congratulations to: Amy Tidd, @LTabstar and Hannah Venables!

46 thoughts on “Starting School – Getting ready for the big day!

  1. Let them help you get everything ready the night before and get up early so that the first morning isn’t a mad rush ( easier said than done!!)

  2. Amy Tidd says:

    Do some practice runs of getting dressed in uniform. Make sure you’re little ones can easily put on their uniforms so they can get changed for pe/ swimming and maybe cut a large sticker in half and place inside shoes so they know what foot goes in each shoe!! And don’t forget to label that uniform!!!

  3. Melissa webb says:

    I get everything ready the night before (packed lunch, school bag etc) so we don’t run late in the morning. Oh and make sure to set the alarm clock. 😊

  4. Gem Banks says:

    Make it EXCITING!! Pack school bag together, think of a super fun song/skip to do on the walk to the first day back at school 🙂

  5. Talk together about what will happen at school including all the fun things he/she will do. Maybe read a story together about starting school so they have an idea of what to expect. I include the different parts of the school day such as playtimes, and lunch time so they can get an idea of whats going to happen and when. Try and make sure that you have everything for the first day in advance so that part of it is stress-free – maybe you can go shopping together for the perfect lunchbox or schoolbag and then label EVERYTHING!!

  6. Hannah Venables says:

    Get EVERYBODY’S things ready the night before so that the morning feels more relaxed than rushed, perhaps arrange to meet a friend in the playground (one for your little one to walk in with and one for you for some post-drop off moral support!). I also put a little Well Done! message in their coat pockets 🙂

  7. Monica Gilbert says:

    Involve your child as much as possible in the process. Even something as simple as choosing pencils helps them feel in control and makes it more exciting for them.

  8. Shelly Wenn says:

    We have a simple word & picture to-do list on the kitchen wall for our three children to follow every school morning which they love to do…starting with breakfast and milk (picture of a cereal bowl & glass of milk), wash & brush teeth, get dressed, feed rabbits, library book or reading book in school bag, school shoes and coat. We also have a to-take list by the front door to remind children (and Mummy) to take school bag, reading/library book, spellings, show & tell, swim kit, lunch box and snack monies!

  9. Kathryn says:

    Let then pick their dinner and help make it.
    Ask them to help with the uniforms,most of all have fun when talking/preparing for school with them xx

  10. Cupcake R says:

    Let your child get used to their uniform beforehand- trying it on, practising with buttons etc. and try out the journey to school looking at interesting things along the way. Go and look at the school too on a practice journey so it won’t be so daunting on the first day. Also read the Topsy and Tim book about starting school!

  11. Mia T says:

    For me, it’s definitely being organised, making sure all the new uniform is bought, fits and name labels sewed in. I also make my 2 girls wear their new shoes in the house to break them in, nothing worse then blisters by lunchtime!

  12. Becky holland says:

    Being organised and talking about it to get my little boy excited about starting school. Getting him to make decisions like what lunch box.

  13. Eilish Sutton says:

    Great post. My tip to to get at least one book that is about going to school. It eases the nerves, especially if you read it together in the morning before leaving for school.

  14. Kerryn Newton-Edwards says:

    Talking to your children about how they are feeling about going to school openly, sometimes they dont always communicate their feelings and may be quite nerves !

  15. Gill Mitchell says:

    Read story books to them about starting school so that they understand others go through it as well. This gives a good opportunity to talk about how they’re feeling as well.

  16. Tracy Gladman says:

    Make sure you prepare everything well in advance and do a trial run so you know the route and how long its going to take. your child will be less upset and more comfortable if they know what they’re doing.

  17. Cassandra Mayers says:

    Make a to do list for the morning… Although you may have got them ready for school a million times, a few weeks off can make you forget things!!!

  18. Natalie Crossan says:

    Giving kids lots of control, picking their backpacks, getting themselves dressed and picking their stationary – give them confidence and make them feel proud for being such big boys and girls 🙂 xx

  19. shona mackie says:

    Speaking with your child about school and have every thing ready letting them help pick out new clothes for school as builds confidence so much

  20. Louise says:

    Try and make it as exciting as possible and get your child in loved in choosing lunch box school bag shoes etc and talk about it as much as you can.

  21. Nicole Salter says:

    We got up for breakfast & ready 2 days before. Got some books from the library to read at home. Also a book & pen for mark making & tracing shapes & letters. My daughter (3) was happy to go in on her first day as she felt smart in her uniform.

  22. Sam Goodwin says:

    Talk to them about school to see how they feel and reassure them if needed by using positive language about school. Tell the child how they are growing up and you are so proud of them and about how much fun they will have at school!

  23. Prerna Gupta says:

    talking in general about good things you do at school helps, also be organised and getting everything ready before night helps as well!

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