Starting School: The Checklist

Starting school: The ChecklistThe countdown to the new academic year has begun for children going back to school and children starting school for the first time.

If you haven’t already have a quick read of our previous post: Getting your child ready to start school. It’s packed full of helpful tips – here’s another one: Help your child put their shoes on the correct foot by marking a large dot on the inside right of their left shoes and inside left of their right shoes. All they have to do is match the dots!

We’re here to help you get ready for their first day by offering some helpful advice!


School uniform can be a bit daunting to buy, but by shopping around you’ll find some excellent deals out there.

You will need 3 sets of uniform: Summer uniform, Winter uniform and a PE kit.

Some schools require children to wear shirts and jumpers with the school emblem on which can only be bought at the school’s stockists. If the school does not require children to wear shirts with the school emblem you can buy generic uniform from most high street retailers like M&S, Tesco and Matalan.

Have your child wear their new school shoes around the house to wear them in and avoid those first day blisters! Velcro shoes are quick and easy for children to put on themselves especially after PE. Some schools may allow children to wear trainers but again, check with the school before buying. Shoes tend to get scuffed and worn out as they have fun at school so be prepared to replace them….and the worn or torn trousers too! Some retailers sell trousers with reinforced knees and scuff resistant shoes which may be a good option if your child is very active.

Label everything! School uniform shops offer embroidery or iron on labelling of uniform. Don’t forget to put your child’s name on their coats, hats, bags and water bottles too. The Sharpie will be your best friend. Beware though – the iron on versions do come off. If you can, dust off your sewing skills and add a tack or two to keep them in place. One of our preschoolers who started school last year kept coming home without her uniform jumper and her mum spent lots of money replacing them. You can avoid this by labelling! Some PTA’s at schools run a second hand uniform shop – this can be a great place to find good quality items for a fraction of the price.

Book bags & lunchboxes

If you opt to provide a packed lunch from home find an easy to open lunchbox and water bottle in the home section of any supermarket. The key is to get your child to practice. Why not make lunches over the next week or two fun by playing ‘pretend school’ and give them their lunch in their new lunchbox. Most youngsters are dying to use it anyway!

Find out the school rules on the type of book bag and lunchbox your child can bring to school. The book bag may have to be purchased from the school stockist or there may be restrictions on using branded items.


Decide on your school night and morning routine a week or so before school starts. This will save a fight at 7 am if your child is used to a more relaxed start to the morning. Set out the uniform, pack their book bag, lunchbox and PE kit the night before – do it with them and it will give them a chance to talk about how they’re feeling about starting school.

You could try a practice run to see how quickly you can get ready and leave the house in the morning.

Talk positively about school

Over the days to come talk about school as something good to look forward to: making new friends, new things to play with, exciting lunch and play times etc.

And finally… Saying GOODBYE

Short and sweet goodbyes are the best.

For some parents this will be their first separation from their child if they have not previously been to nursery. Try not to linger at the door but do reassure them that they will have fun, make new friends and see you soon. If you start to feel upset or anxious try not to let them see you and keep your brave face on for them.

A special goodbye ritual may help make goodbyes easier.