5 Top Tips from a Reception teacher for preparing your child for Big school.

I often get asked how a parent can prepare their child for Reception and starting school. With the end of the school year almost upon us, I thought I would share my top tips to ease the transition for your Preschooler.

  1. Let them meet their new teacher. Most schools have an induction day or Meet the Teacher day. Don’t skip this! This is a really important time for your child to see what their new classroom is like. They will probably enjoy an afternoon or morning in the classroom which will be set up to be very similar to a nursery with lots of free play. The teacher will probably read them a story and like to chat to each child. If your child misses this, they will miss out on knowing what you mean about going to school. Hopefully, this will be an extremely positive experience and they will take that home with them.
  2. Let them practise wearing their uniform and PE kit. Lots of parents forget this and then expect their child to be comfortable on their first day. Lots of schools have uniforms in the UK and these clothes can be very different to what your child is used to. Children of this age can be sensitive to change and I know that my son was ultra sensitive to clothing (it was always too scratchy or zips were in the wrong place!). Make it fun! See if they can change into their PE kit using a stopwatch! Make it a game. Remember, children will have to change into their PE kit on their OWN with very little help so practise makes perfect (most schools will offer help but with 30 in a class….).
  3. Please don’t buy your child lace up shoes or trainers! Your child has to become more independent so help them as much as possible by either buying velcro shoes or slip on trainers/plimsolls (we call these daps in the west country!).
  4. Your child’s teacher will not be wiping your child’s bottom so teach them to do this for themselves. She/he has not got time to do this with 30 children in the class, think about it! If they insist on you doing it, you need to wean them off this. Visit the school toilet if you can do. These toilets can be worrying for some children. On a visit day, the teacher will do make sure he/she shows the children their new toilet.
  5. Do not hang up your child’s coat for them. They are old enough to hang up their own coat and know where to put their bag after a few weeks. Help them become more independent by asking them to do some things at home. Prepare them by teaching them to put their shoes together at home or putting some of their own belongings away. Start small and they can do it. With my own children, I remember showing them how to put their PJ’s under their pillow, put their shoes in the cupboard and making sure they knew where they school bag lived at home. These small things help them to be more independent at school too. Mummy/Daddy doesn’t need to do everything! Remember by helping them to be more independent you are helping them.

Academics are less important believe it or not. If your child has basic self care skills, they will be able to access the curriculum with confidence. If they are very reliant on adults for their own care, they will find school more daunting.
If you want to teach some academic skills, my top tips are being able to write their name using lower case letters (my son couldn’t do this but he could make an ace Lego model) and being able to sit still long enough to enjoy a story.
I almost forgot…..don’t show them you are upset on their first day….if they see you upset, they will think they should be upset too and this is very unsettling! Do not linger, explain that they are going to have the best time ever (implanting this idea is very powerful) and that you will see them later. Do not dwell and cry with the other parents at a coffee shop!
So there we have it! I hope these tips are useful to you.
PS. Thanks to Joshua -NAME LABEL EVERYTHING!!!
5 Top Tips from a Reception teacher for preparing your child for Big school. Oldhouseintheshires. #education #Receptionage #parenting

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56 Comments

  • Great post! My eldest starts big school in September so very helpful. I def won’t be showing him I’m upset, he’ll probably just see the back off me skipping out of the gate haha 🙂 #bigpinklink

  • Thank you so much – We need this post as our eldest starts school in September. I’m so disappointed that we can’t attend the parents meeting / welcome session later this week as it typically falls on the one day of the week that I work. I asked the school to show us around yesterday though and we got to see her class and meet some of the teachers. I’m so nervous for her but as you say – trying my best not to let it show. Thanks for linking to #DreamTeam x

  • Really good tips, my daughter is just finishing her reception year and thankfully she was ok with all of this when she started x
    #DreamTeam

  • #dreamteam perfectly timed piece as today we said goodbye to nursery – i love the stop watch idea and will do this weekly over the summer break. He is competitive so this will bring out the joy in a mundane task.

    • Yeah! Glad that was useful. I found the end of Nursery quite emotional as I loved my kids nursery! Hope your son gets on ok at school in September. x

  • Fab tips there, I always try and be extra positive about it for them. My daughter suffers from anxiety and it was draining trying to be uber buoyant about school each day but now it’s paid off and she’s confidently heading into year two. Thanks for linking up with us this week. #bigpinklink

  • Brilliant post! My eldest has just about finished Year 1 now, but we were close to these tips! I never thought about the uniform bit though! We explained that it was like how daddy had to wear a uniform to work and she was happy with that. – Definitely agree with not doing things for them. The coat pegs are low enough for them to reach! I helped Lily look for her name on the peg but she did the rest! #blogstravaganza x

  • I love this post, and have just done a ‘phew’, because we have a lot of these tips done. We’ve recently had the meet your teacher and future classmates taster day and it really does make all the difference. Exciting time. #DreamTeam xx

  • Another fabulous post, you always give such valuable advice. I’m pinning for future reference! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

  • Great post! My little guy is entering school in the fall and I am so nervous. I need to start making him more independent in many ways. Thank you for sharing!

  • We still have a few years to go before my little one starts school, but these are really useful tips. I’ll want her to feel confident and comfortable when she takes that big step. #FamilyFun

  • Brilliant tips. My daughter doesn’t start school until next year but I’m dreading it already. She’s a summer baby so will be almost a year younger than some of her classmates. 😭😭😭 These tips will help her feel more prepared and confident in herself. #FamilyFunLinky

  • There are some fantastic tips here. I remember the first day of my older one like yesterday I am dreading the twins starting next year. #FamilyFunLinky

  • Yes to making sure the shoes don’t have laces on! My son is going into Year 2 this Sept – I don’t know where the time has gone!! I was so pleased that he ran into reception on that first day and never looked back (he’d been going to the school for a year for half days at nursery so that deffo helped) so we didn’t have any fear of the long goodbye. I totally agree about academics – in fact I could rant about this – imo people get too hung up about reading, writing and spelling too early which is such a shame for the kids. Great advice here. xx #familyfunlinky

  • Good point about the shoes and the uniform so important for the kids to feel comfortable and to be independent too. Our eldest is going into Year 2 now but I remember him going to reception like it was yesterday. We were lucky – he ran in and never looked back (due to having been to nursery at the school I’m sure) so didn’t have any long goodbyes thankfully. I agree about the academic stuff – in fact I feel strongly that some parents focus too much on this too early – reading, writing, spellings – I look to the Scandinavians and Finns and think they have it right over there….. Really helpful post for people. #familyfunlinky xx

  • Oh these are fantastic tips, this will be this time next year and I will heed this advice. She is quite good at doing things herself but I should probably work on encouraging her a little more in preparation of next year. Brilliant advice ,thank you for sharing at #familyfun

  • These are great. The self care and independence can help to make them confident and change their mood. #TwinklyTuesday

  • A super helpful posts… Alexander started nursery this January, and will continue in nursery into September (because of where his birthday falls), however he does attend a school based nursery that runs like the rest of the school, and I would agree with a number of these tips already having proved useful to us – especially the shoes and toilet training! Practical! #TwinklyTuesday

  • Great advice- it’s such a big day but you are right, the more they can do for themselves, the easier the transition will be.

  • oh I’ve commented on this before, but am popping back for #thesatsesh and am really glad i have. My son starts school soon (One week!) and I’ve completely forgot the stopwatch idea….ok, off to play now! He is confident and can do all those things, probably because Mummy is a teacher… hold a pencil, no time for that lol…typical boy, who much like your son loves a lego model.

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