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Preparing your child for starting school

The first day at school can be an exciting but anxious time for parents and children, however being prepared can make the transition smoother.  Parents have an important role in teaching their children skills to equip them during their school years.
Therapist working with a young child who is holding an apple

Spend time with your child sitting at a table at home to get them prepared for mealtimes at school. Make sure that your child is able to use cutlery when eating their food.

Let your child practice getting dressed and undressed at home, and using fastenings such as zips and buttons. Your child will need to get their coat on and off at playtimes at school and in time will need to get dressed and undressed for PE sessions. When choosing school uniform, coats and shoes try and find ones that your child will be able to use independently.

Being able to use the toilet is an important skill when starting school. Teach your child to use the toilet on their own by allowing them to wipe themselves, flush the toilet and wash their hands.  If your child is not reliably toilet trained seek help and support as soon as possible. Your Health Visitor or School Nurse will be able to offer advice.

Speak to your School Nurse or your child’s class teacher if you are worried about your child’s health or how a health condition may be managed in school.

Visit NHS Choices for more information about supporting your child when they start school.


How to get help

Find your local Health Visitor

Find your School Nurse team


Related Information

Visit Eric for more information on children's continence

Dressing skills - Factsheet

Helping your child learn how to put shoes and socks on - Factsheet

First Day at School - NHS Choices

Top tips on helping your child be ready for school