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How to prepare for the first day of nursery

By Kanjo
4 min
Last updated
September 13, 2022
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With September right around the corner, many of you might be getting anxious about your child’s first day of reception. Whether they’re coming from nursery or it will be their first time in a formal school setting, reception is a major transition that can feel sudden and overwhelming, both for you and your child. But with a bit of preparation, you can ensure that your child will be confident and excited for this big milestone!

1. Establish a morning and bedtime routine.

The start of reception is already a huge change, so try to make home life as stable and consistent as possible. For a few weeks leading up to the big day, cement that bath–teeth-brushing– reading–bed sequence, so that the night before school is grounded by a routine. And same for the morning! If your routine is down, the first day of school can start with a calm, familiar morning, which will set your child up for success.

2. Practice independence at home.

  • Let your child do most of their routine themselves (getting dressed, brushing teeth, making bed, etc.).
  • Give them simple chores around the house.
  • Encourage them to play independently.
  • Practice decision making (choosing a book before bed, what to eat for breakfast, etc.).

Your child is likely used to having someone around to help at all times, but a reception classroom might have thirty other kids being supported by only two teachers. If your child is confident getting dressed on their own, for example, it will make coming in from outdoor play much less stressful, as they feel comfortable tying their shoes and removing their jackets all by themselves.

3. Visit the school in advance if possible.

Bring your child to visit the classroom, see kids playing in the playground, see where they’ll eat lunch, etc. We sometimes forget that kids have no idea what to expect, which can be overwhelming. This will eliminate some of the anxiety around a new place and new people on the first day, making it less stressful and more memorable.

4. Talk about things they can be excited about doing at school.

Emphasise things they already enjoy, such as playing with legos, colouring, or reading. Remind them that they’ll be so grown-up learning to read, write and count!

5. Let your child pick their kit.

A backpack, lunch box, first-day-of-school outfit, etc. so that they feel some control over this unfamiliar stage in their lives. It will also make them excited, even if that’s just because of a cool new backpack. 🎒😉

And most importantly, make sure to relax. It’s scary to see your child in such a new environment, but this is an exciting step that we’ve all been through. Your child will be making friends, loving learning, and having fun in no time!

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