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Parents reveal how they prepared their children for school

Boy writing at desk
Starting school is a major milestone in any child’s (and parent’s) life, and preparing for it can feel like a daunting task. TheSchoolRun’s Amy Schofield looks at ways to prepare your child for school life.

You may feel nervous at the thought of your child entering a place that is full of people bigger than they are and packed with unfamiliar routines, especially if they have spent most of their pre-school time with you.

However, good primary schools understand that it can be an unsettling time in a child’s life. They do all they can to familiarise your child with school before they start.
When both my children started school, their reception teacher visited them at home before the summer holidays, so that the children knew her as a friendly face. She talked to them about the things they liked to do, then asked them to draw her a picture in her book of their favourite activity or toy.
Your child’s school will probably arrange for the pre-school children to visit their new classroom once or twice before the summer holidays, which is an excellent way for your child to start to feel confident in the school setting.

What parents can do

It’s a good idea to involve your child in the practical aspects of preparing for school. Take them with you when you go to buy their school uniform and let them choose items themselves, such as their lunchbox or school bag. Speak positively about school, talking about your own good experiences of being at school, perhaps of favourite teachers or favourite playground games.
If your child does have fears and is anxious about starting school, let them express those fears, listen, and tell them that they are always loved and supported by you. Reinforce the idea that their school can also be a place where they feel safe, secure and happy.

What did you do?

We asked our TheSchoolRun followers on Twitter for their tips on how they prepared their children for starting school:
Pippad – “I gave my daughter a note (in pictures), telling her how much I loved her, a watch so she could see when I would be back, and a bracelet.”
Bubblegumbodw – “We read lots of “going to school” themed books and went with friends to collect and take their children to get used to it.”
Vmiddleton – “Ask if you can visit the school with your child before classes to get them familiar with the place.”
Beccakiwi – “Do something nice for when your wee one gets home – a special dinner or treat etc – until it gets easier for you both.”
Brendanixon – “Parents can have separation anxiety too. Best to build up school experience, be positive and let go. Talk after school.”
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