Your child's first day at school/nursery

by Caroline Gee. Top tips for things you can do to help your child prepare for this important milestone.

Boy with rucksack


The big day is almost here! Your child will soon be starting school or nursery. You are both bound to be really excited about this new adventure - but feeling a bit nervous and anxious too is very normal!

What can you do to help your child prepare for this important milestone in their life?

How CBeebies can help

Your child is bound to be wondering what school or nursery will be like when they arrive and what sort of things happen during the day.

Why not cuddle up together and watch Jack's Big Day to help reassure them about what to expect?

Have a chat about how Jack feels at different points in his day at school. Does your child have any of the worries Jack has?

Talk about all the fun things he does and all the activities your child is looking forward to when they start school.

Starting nursery is an important milestone in your child’s life. You can use My Story Online to help prepare your child for the important first day. Pick the templates that best suit your situation, here are some suggestions that may help:

Use My Day to outline a typical day at nursery and help your child to understand what to expect. When will they eat, will they have sleep time?
After their first day, use My Day to capture what they have experienced. You could also use Play and Food to talk about their day.
Use My People to make pictures of your child’s nursery teachers and new friends.
If your child is feeling anxious, use I Wish and I Feel to help explore their feelings.

How to make a magic moment

Your child has already achieved so much. Why not share some of those special times with your child's new teacher and classmates by making an 'All About Me' scrapbook?

Collect together photos, pictures and mementoes of important milestones and events in your child's life so far - e.g. birthday cards, photos of special family events or records of achievements).

Remember to keep adding to their scrapbook as they start their new adventure at school or nursery.

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Expert opinion

You are important in helping your child's attitude towards school. If you can get your child to view school as a fun adventure then their first day will begin with really positive steps.

Caroline Gee, Reception teacher

Top tips

  • If you can, visit their new nursery or school before the big day. Meet the teachers and find something in the classroom you know your child will enjoy doing when they first arrive.Make sure your child knows where they can go to the toilet, hang up their coat and put any other belongings.Be ready to leave your child even though you may be finding it hard to let go! Children are good at picking up on anxiety and it can make settling harder for them if you stay too long.Reassure your child that it's fine to ask for help if they are not sure or worried about something. Teachers are great at listening and solving problems!
  • Remember that your child will probably feel tired at the end of the day - playing and exploring a new environment is hard work! They might like some quiet time when they get home. Don't bombard them with questions, even though you are itching to find out everything they've been doing!

Parent's tale

After a few days of pre-school, my son was still not settling in. He was crying and begging me not to leave him. It was heart-wrenching. I had to hide my own tears and the teacher had to pull him off me (in tears herself).

I decided I had to be more firm. He could sense my hesitation. The next day I told him I would take him in, kiss him goodbye and then go - and I'd be back at home time. And it worked. He soon settled in and now loves it.

Nula, From Cornwall