7 tips to help prepare for primary school

1. Communication is key

As soon as you get your child's school place confirmed, start talking about it. Tell them the name of the school, the teachers and anything else you know so they can start to process this big life change.

The primary school will give you information about the first day and what to expect, (if they don't, then ask). This can help your child understand what is going to happen. Be realistic though. Children aren't daft. Explain that it is ok to feel nervous or sad and they will get tired, but they can always tell their teacher.

2. Practise the school run

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

During the summer holidays, practice the school run, this can get them excited about starting there and also used to travelling to and from the school.

3. School uniform

Make it fun and exciting to have a school uniform. Try it on before they start school, but don't buy it too early, as they may grow by the time they get to wear it!

Go shoe shopping together, get them to choose their own lunch box; this can help them prepare for school. 

When they try their uniform on, get them to practise fastening and unfastening any buttons, zips, velcro, etc. This will save a lot of frustration when they are in school when they need to go to the toilet or get changed for P.E.

4. Toilet trained

If your child isn't fully toilet trained or still has accidents, mention this to the teacher. Have spare underwear in their school bag, so they don't feel embarrassed or have to be wet all day.

Make sure that your child knows how to wipe properly and pull up their pants. Teach them to flush the toilet, and even get used to different types of flushes, so they know what to do, and then wash their hands properly.

5. Know their name

They may know their name by sound, but how often do they see it written down? Start getting them familiar with how their name looks written down and also get them to practise writing their own name. They don't have to know how to write it perfectly, but even getting used to holding a pencil properly can really help.

Don't worry if your child can't do this before they start school, just reassure them that they will be able to read and write soon. Some children could get upset if they see others know how to do something they can't, but just continue enjoying learning together and having fun.

6. Relax (as much as possible)

Make the morning as relaxed as possible. Have everything set out the night before, so you aren't rushing around trying to find a lost shoe or misplaced bag. Make time to get your 'first day of school pictures' and get to the school nice and early. 

It can be really exciting for you when you pick them up afterwards, as you will want to know everything that has gone on in their day - but don't bombard them with too many questions, as no doubt they will be really tired!

7. A change for you as well

This can also be a difficult time for you, especially if this is your first child going to primary school. The house will now feel rather quiet, so don't forget about care for yourself.

Make the most of your time, maybe try a new hobby, do more hours in work, but also try and get talking to other parents at the school gate, as they will more than likely be feeling similar to you.

Once your child (and you) are prepared for primary school, why not check out the tips for handling Key Stage 1 homework.

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