How will I cope with my child’s first day at school?

Open navigator

1. First day nerves?

Lots of parents feel some anxiety about their child starting at a formal education setting. Whether your child is starting nursery, Reception, moving up a year or you are even starting to home educate – this jump up into formal education is a big step.

Getting prepared can help put some of the anxieties to rest. Practice the journey to school together, visit their new classroom if you can, and talk lots about the sorts of thing they’ll be doing so that when September comes it will already seem part of their lives. It’s important to remember to emotionally prepare yourself and not just your child, and when the big day arrives, try your best to appear happy and calm! Seeing you being positive will really reassure your child. If you have negative memories of your own time at school, try not to pass them on to your child. School has changed quite a bit - you may well be pleasantly surprised!

2. Should I leave the teaching to the teacher?

Once children start at school it can be tempting to just leave the learning up to the teacher, after all they are the experts. But research has shown that what parents do at home to support learning can account for 80% of a child’s academic success.

If you’re not confident about how to support their learning at home, talk to your child’s teacher. They will always be very happy to tell you what your child’s learning and give you ideas about how to carry it on at home.

Looking out for letters, words, shapes and numbers when you’re out and about is the perfect way to reinforce what your child is starting to learn at nursery or school. If you need a refresher on phonics or the latest maths techniques check out the CBeebies Grown-ups guide to phonics, and the handy maths guide for parents.

Your child only actually spends 15% of their time at school, carrying on the learning outside of school is important and can also be fun!

3. Top tips for a successful first day

In this video, parents from the CBeebies show ‘Time for School’ on CBeebies, and class teacher Miss Mills give their top tips to help you prepare your child for starting school.

4. What is my child actually doing all day?

It can be hard when your child starts school and you aren’t the centre of their world anymore. Talking to them about what they did at school can help you feel involved and spot any problems if they are having any. However, sometimes getting your child to talk about their day can be an uphill battle.

Working on a scrap book or journal together can be a good way to start the conversation. The Time for School scrapbook game on the CBeebies website is a great resource where you and your child can fill out the pages. Here they will think about how they get to school, who they sat with at lunch, what games they played – you will get a great insight into what they get up to and it’s a wonderful record of this big step in their life.

Having these conversations will help start an ongoing involvement in their education. If you’re unsure about anything at all, ask your child’s teacher. Having good links between home and school is one of the things that can make a real difference to how well they get on there.

5. How can I help my child prepare for school?

Why not try...

Practising numbers

You selected

Practising numbers

Counting steps or spotting shapes when you are out and about can be great fun and practice.

Getting used to making friends

You selected

Getting used to making friends

Take your child along to social groups like a playgroup so they can get familiar with being with other children.

Do some reading together

You selected

Do some reading together

Get into a routine of reading with your child and get them to take ownership by holding the book and turning the pages.

Try some independence skills

You selected

Try some independence skills

Encourage your child to dress themselves in the morning and practice doing their own coat and shoes.