Getting ready to start primary school

Getting ready to start primary school

Transitioning to primary school is a big change for children and their families.

Our expert advice will help you get ready together.

Coping with change to primary school as a family

  • Don’t avoid it – draw pictures and tell stories about what might happen to make it fun and more familiar.
  • Talk about feelings – describe what happens when you have different feelings, including worry. Do you have butterflies in your tummy? Are you tense? Explain that nerves can help us focus and get ready.
  • Look back – chat about how you’ve coped with changes in the past, like moving house or having a baby. You can do it again!
  • Practice how to stay calm - this could include taking slow, deep breaths together.

Find out how else you can support your child

primary school children in class

Preparing my child

  • Let them make mistakes – praise them for trying and help them learn from it by not always fixing it straight away
  • Encourage them to be curious – ask questions about the world around you and they will start to do the same
  • Help them get on with others – introduce them to people, play games and take turns. ‘Act out’ situations with toys. E.g. “how can teddy ask to play with the dolls?”
  • Practise sitting still and paying attention – look at books, crafts or puzzles without distractions
  • Encourage lots of words – instead of “did you like it?” ask “what did you like about it?” so they have to use different words
  • Get moving – running, jumping, climbing, catching, painting and sorting small objects will improve their control over their bodies.

Preparing myself

This is a big change for you too, so don't forget to look after yourself.

Being apart from your child might be new. Plan what you’ll do during those first few days and chat to other families who are going through the same thing.

Make time for yourself. Self-care can be as simple as having a cup of tea, going for a walk or getting enough sleep.

Remember, you are your child's first and most important teacher and they will continue to rely on you throughout school. When you look after yourself, you’re more able to support them.

Are you struggling? Find out where you can get help

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