Who else has a child who is starting school for the first time this year? How are you feeling about it?
I have to admit, I’m feeling really sad! I honestly cannot believe how fast the last four years have gone. How do we have school age children already?
This month, my little family has been starting the whole process of getting ready for school, as I’m sure you have been as well. So far it seems kind of straight forward, but at the same time I really feel like I’m just winging it at the moment.
This week I reached out to some other parents, whose children already go to school and I asked them if they could share their top tips for us parents who have children starting school for the first time this year.
They’ve said some really helpful things that will help with both the lead up to school and the transition over those first couple of weeks in September. If you are feeling a little bit nervous about your little one starting school, I hope this post will give you some good information and will help you to feel less alone!
15 Tips For Parents Of Children Starting School
Here’s what they’ve said…
1. Buy Clothes That Are Easy To Put On
Where possible, try and buy uniform and school shoes that are easy to put on. Try and avoid fiddly buttons, buckles and zips and stick to elasticated waists and velcro for the first year. This will help to prevent any tears and frustration every time your little one needs the toilet or anytime they need to get changed for PE lessons. The same applies to any bags and boxes that they might need.
A lovely thing to to is to make the ‘back to school’ shop an exciting adventure, rather than a chore. Make a day of it and try and make it fun. We’ve been advised by lots of parents to go shopping in the middle of August. That way there will still be plenty of uniform options, but you’ve not bought too early that they’ll grow out of the uniform too soon.
2. Keep School Talk Positive
“Keep everything positive. Children know when you’re feeling anxious and it will scare them, so make sure you keep all your language positive about how it’ll be and what they’ll do.”
– Michaela from Adventures Of A Yorkshire Mum
3. Label Everything
“My tip would be to buy stick on name labels or a stamp, to save time when labelling up all their clothes. Also, to help get them ready for the transition, I found the Topsy and Tim go to school book really helped. We read it a lot with both of our girls.”
– Becky from Pinks Charming
Adding to this tip, we’ve heard that iron on labels are amazing. You can get these from places like ‘….’ If you’re sticking to a budget though, a permanent market will also do the trick.
4. Practise Getting Dressed
“My little girl started last year and my son starts this year. I would say teach them the basics such as recognising their name (first and surname), making sure they can dress and undress themselves and fastening their coat and know which shoes go on which foot. My little girl was always coming home with her clothes on back to front or shoes on wrong feet after PE.”
– Lindsay from Newcastle Family Life
Another tip we were given by Evie’s new school, is to try and make sure that kids are toilet trained and that they know when to wash their hands and how to do it properly. This will help to prevent any toilet slip ups and the hand washing will really help to prevent them catching bugs and illnesses from other kids.
5. Buy Bigger Sizes
“Buy uniform t-shirts and jumpers a size bigger, so they’re easier to take off…”
– Emma from The Cheshire Wife
6. Start A Routine
“Start a morning routine with them and stick to it. Get up early, have breakfast, brush teeth, get changed and collect bag etc. Children thrive on routine and once they know it, it’ll make mornings much easier.”
– Emma from Mrs Shilts
7. Visit The School
“Go and see the school as much as you can to familiarise them with it an get them used to the surroundings.”
– Lianne from Ankle Biters Adventures
Some schools also offer home visits, so parents and children can get to know the teachers beforehand. If your school offers this, it’s a great idea to accept. It’s good for the teachers to meet kids in an environment that is comfortable for them (don’t worry, they really aren’t there to judge your house) and this can make the transition a lot easier.
8. Read Books About School
“Mine started last year. We read some books about starting school over the summer which I think really helped her to know what to expect. As well as going to all the settling in sessions.”
– Claire from The Ladybirds Adventures
Claire has actually written a really great post where she has listed some ‘starting school books’ that you might want to read with your kids. Here’s her post: 5 Fantastic Books About Starting School.
9. Sign Up For Updates
“Make sure you give your mobile number to the school so you can get updated with any events or school related things that are happening. Also join their Facebook group if they have one – most do and they share photos of what the pupils are up too and updates of things that are happening too.”
– Beth from Life As Mum
10. Prepare For Settling In Blues
“Don’t expect the tears to happen straight away. When Zach first started, he absolutely loved it and he happily went in every morning. After the two week settling in period, and when he realised that full time school was the forever more, the school run became hell and I had him screaming and grappling at me on drop off. It only lasted a few days but I noticed it happened to a lot of the children.
Also, if you get invited into school in those early days, expect your child to be sad when you have to leave. We are just getting to the end of reception year and he’s only just accepting of the fact that he can’t come back home with me after his assembly or sports day.”
– Lisa from Mumma Scribbles.
11. Let Them Pick Their School Things
“Let them pick their own water bottles, lunchboxes and bags etc. It got them really excited about starting and using them in September.”
– Beth from Twinderelmo.
12. Make It Fun
“We got the girls the Usborne sticker book about starting school which my kids really enjoyed. Try to stay relaxed and excited about it – if you act nervous and scared about the change they’ll pick up on that. We also stamped EVERYTHING with our stamptastic stamp!”
– Zoe from Mama Geek.
13. Remind Them To Be Kind To Others
“Remind them about kindness to others and that some boys and girls may look different, or react differently to some things, but that is ok.”
– Danielle from Someones Mum
Danielle writes a fantastic blog called ‘Someones Mum’. She is a Mum of a boy with Autism and she has a really great, informative post you can read that will help you to explain to your children that some of the kids in their class might be different. Here’s her post: Tips For Explaining Autism To Younger Children
14. Hide Your Upset
“Put your own feelings aside and be happy for them on their new start. They take their cues from you so if you are visibly upset, it will upset them which is a really difficult way to start their first day.”
– Natalie from Plutioniom Sox.
Natalie has also written a post all about why she won’t be crying at the school gates. You can read all about it here: Why I Won’t Be Crying At The School Gates.
15. It’s Ok To Miss Them
I’m definitely one of those parents who is probably going to cry on the car ride home after dropping Evie for her first day. School is a huge adjustment for both of you and it really is ok to miss them. It might take a while for you both to fall into your new routines. Missing them is completely normal, after all, unless they have other siblings at home, it might be the first time that you’ve had a quiet house in a very long time. It will get easier, we promise!
Thank you so much to all the lovely parents who contributed to this post! I hope that their tips were really useful to you and I hope that the transition from toddler to school child is so easy for you.