Preparing Kids to Start School

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Starting school is one of the biggest milestones in a child’s life.

I can still remember vividly not just the day I started school but all the build up … the visits, the daffodil picture on my peg & tray that I was convinced was a dandelion, trying to remember my teacher’s name. And that was an awfully long time ago.

And even though many children now go to nursery, pre-school or kindergarten before they start formal school, starting school “for real” is still a big transition in the whole family’s life, not just educationally but emotionally and practically.

And starting school raises a whole host of questions and “to dos” for parents including …

  • How will my child need to adapt their behaviour? How can I help?
  • What new “stuff” will they need?
  • How can we get all this “stuff” without breaking the bank?
  • How are we going to work the school run?
  • Will we need new childcare? How can we afford it?
  • What’s the best option for school meals?
  • What happens if they don’t like it?

As we’ll be going through this soon, I’ve begged and borrowed tips and to dos from all the mums I know who’ve been through it and put them in a list … please do help me build the list by adding your own tips  …


Starting School – A Check List

  • Find out which other children from local streets, nursery, church etc are going
  • Find out which friends of friends are going
  • Arrange informal play dates so your child knows as many faces as possible
  • Switch into the school bedtime & morning routine two weeks before starting
  • Do a dry run of the school run so you’re sure how long it really takes
  • Arrange any changes to work start time to support school run as early as possible
  • Confirm whether breakfast club provided & if & when you need to apply
  • Confirm whether after school club provided & if & when need to apply
  • Arrange any after school childcare required if you are working
  • Check if school does half days for first few weeks and adapt childcare or book time off work if necessary to support this
  • Confirm what provision school makes for meals and snacks
  • Decide whether your child will be eating school provided meals or taking their own
  • Go on as many visits as possible to increase familiarity as much as possible
  • Encourage your child to dress and undress themselves independently
  • Encourage your child to put their shoes & take them off independently
  • Ensure your child is eating all meals with cutlery rather than fingers
  • Start weaning your child off favourite toys & blankets
  • Read lots of books about starting school
  • Make sure you’re absolutely sure of any uniform requirements
  • Let your friends & friends of friends know if you’re open to hand me downs
  • Find out from school about second hand suppliers
  • Get feet measured & buy shoes that will stand up to a year’s wear & tear
  • Put labels in clothes
  • Talk to children about the cost of clothes & importance of looking after them
  • Advise school of any allergies & ensure they understand procedure for handling
  • Advise school of any medical needs & ensure understand procedure for handling
  • Talk to school about special educational needs & confirm support they will provide
  • In preceding months build up time each day sitting at a table for an activity
  • Find out about toilet arrangements – children in pre-school may be used to going whenever they need to whilst in school may need to ask and wait, ensure your child understands arrangements
  • Create a special spot for storing school bag, coat, shoes etc
  • Create a routine for getting bag, coat, shoes etc ready the night before
  • Create a daily routine for talking about each day … the good stuff & the bad
  • Take a picture of them on their first day & make it an annual tradition
  • Get to know parents of other children as quickly as possible
  • Build relationship with teachers – raise concerns early but also share the good stuff


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Hello, I'm Luci, Editor of Mums Make Lists. MML is full of creative tips I’ve put together to bring calm and balance to the lives of busy mums and their families.

6 thoughts on “Preparing Kids to Start School”

  1. Great advice as always!! We start next week and have been doing many visits to get her use to the new school as well as a few playdates with children in her new class. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

  2. Perfect – as always my dear – some great advice, particularly the weaning off favourite tools, which we failed to do…hence why we had a small meltdown the night b4 when I informed my son “froggy” couldn’t go too! Thanks for linking up to the Parenting Tips Linky 😀

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