Starting Reception

Starting Reception

How to prepare your child for starting school.

Have you got a little one starting reception this year? Are you wondering how to prepare them for life at big school? Then you're in the right place!

Seeing your little one start school will probably be one of your proudest parenting moments so far. However, it may also be one of the most nerve-racking and emotional parenting moments. It is certainly a big change for the both of you, but can also be an exciting adventure.

See our how to’s on preparing your child for their first year at school below.


Communication is key

Get them excited from the start. As soon as your child’s school place is confirmed, start to talk about it. Tell them the name of their new school, let them see the school logo and tell them the name of their teacher.

Their school will give you any information you need to know about dates and what to expect on their first day ( if this information is not provided then ask the school).

Set up a calendar so you can do a countdown together and get them excited about their first day.


Practice the school run

If you have time during the summer holidays try to do a practice school run. Your child may be wondering what their new school building looks like and this practice run will help to get them excited for their first day.

You could even make it part of your morning routine towards the end of the holidays. A practice run will help you to know how much time you’ll need in the mornings and take away some of that first-day stress and nerves.


School uniform

There’s nothing like a fresh school uniform at the start of a new school year. For children starting big school, it can feel extra special.

Get them excited and make a day of it. Let them try it all on, go shoe shopping together and let them pick out their own lunch box or water bottle. Show them how to do up zips and fasten shoes so they’re not too nervous when you’re not around.


Read about it

Once your child has their place confirmed. Why not take them to your local library or a book shop and find some books about children starting school. Reading about it before they start may help them to feel more confident and answer any questions they may have. You can make this a part of their bedtime routine. Allow your child to ask questions that may arise from their book.


Practice saying goodbye

Saying goodbye to one another will probably be the hardest part of this journey. If your child went to nursery or preschool then they may be used to saying goodbye to you for the day. However, if this wasn’t the case then arrange for a few days where you take some time away from each other.

You could ask a family member or a friend to help you with this. Let them know that you’re going for a few hours and that you will be back to collect them. You can relate this to them starting school so they know what to expect.


Know their name

Your child may know their name by the sound, but do they often see it written down? They don’t need to know how to write it perfectly but show them what their name looks like written on a piece of paper.

It’s perfectly normal if your child can’t write their name before starting school, you can get them excited that this will be something they will learn.


Practice good hygiene/toilet trained

Good hygiene is super important, especially as bugs and illnesses spread so quickly. And your child’s school may expect that they can use a toilet unaided.

You can encourage good, basic hygiene by teaching them about germs and ensuring that they wash their hands and flush their toilet whenever they go and wash their hands before eating.

If your child still has accidents, be sure to let their teacher know. Maybe you could pop some spare underwear and clothes into their bag so they feel less embarrassed if anything happens.


Keep calm

Naturally, you would feel the first-day nerves as much as your child. It’s a big day for all the family. But continue to show them just how exciting this new adventure will be.

If you have any nerves reach out to your child’s teacher before they start. Get talking to other parents at the school gate, you may find others are feeling the same way you do.


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