Top tips for the first year

  • Establish a friendly relationship with your child’s class teacher, including finding out their preferred times and means of communication. They’re experts at helping young children to settle in and thrive at school, and will be able to reassure you about most issues that come up. If you do have any concerns, raise them early to prevent them from developing into bigger problems.
  • Summer-born children in particular, who start school soon after turning four, may need extra sensitivity and flexibility to help them settle in. If there’s anything you think might help your child to feel settled, suggest it to their class teacher. Remember, you know your own child best.
  • Many children, even those who have been accustomed to long days at a nursery or pre-school, find school very tiring. Making sure they have sufficient down time in the evenings and at weekends is important.
  • Familiarise yourself with the school's guidelines on illness. Stomach bugs and other illnesses can easily spread among young children, and exclusion periods should be carefully followed.
  • A family calendar or pin board in a prominent place is useful for displaying important dates and reminders. Check bags regularly for letters!
  • Make mornings easier by gathering book bags, PE kits and any other vital items by the front door the evening before. Involving children in the process will help them as they start taking more responsibility for their own belongings.
  • Once your child starts bringing home reading books, make sure you have a regular quiet time set aside to listen to them read. If you find they are too tired in the evenings, try taking five minutes in the morning instead.
  • Getting involved in school life yourself is a great way to meet other parents and become part of a supportive community, as well as contributing to your child's learning environment. Helping with fundraising events, volunteering in the classroom or on class trips, or even taking on the responsibility of being a parent governor can all be valuable and rewarding experiences.
  • Try and maintain these activities throughout the school year and during the holidays as well to help your child combat what's sometimes known as "summer loss" a phrase used to describe the decline in academic skills and knowledge when children are absent from school over the holidays. Read our summer loss factsheet for ideas here.