Transition to Primary School

Transitioning to primary school is a big change for children and their families.

Coping with change to primary school as a family

  • Don’t avoid it – draw pictures and tell stories about what might happen to make it fun and more familiar.

  • Talk about feelings – describe what happens when you have different feelings, including worry. Do you have butterflies in your tummy? Are you tense? Explain that nerves can help us focus and get ready.

  • Look back – chat about how you’ve coped with changes in the past, like moving house or having a baby. You can do it again!

  • Practice how to stay calm - this could include taking slow, deep breaths together.

Find out how else you can support your child

primary school children in class

Preparing your child

  • Let them make mistakes – praise them for trying and help them learn by not always fixing things immediately.

  • Encourage them to be curious – ask questions about the world around you, and they will do the same.

  • Help them get on with others – introduce them to people, play games and take turns. ‘Act out’ situations with toys, e.g., “How can Teddy ask to play with the dolls?”,

  • Practice sitting still and paying attention – look at books, crafts or puzzles without distractions.

  • Encourage lots of words – instead of: “Did you like it?”, ask: “What did you like about it?”, so they have to use different words.

  • Get moving – running, jumping, climbing, catching, painting and sorting small objects will improve their control over their bodies.

Preparing yourself

Your child starting primary school is a big change for you, too, so remember to look after yourself.

Being apart from your child might be new. Plan what you'll do during those first few days and chat with other families who are going through the same thing.

Make time for yourself. Self-care can be as simple as having a cup of tea, going for a walk or getting enough sleep.

Remember, you are your child's first and most important teacher, and they will continue to rely on you throughout their time at school. When you look after yourself, you're more able to support them.

Are you struggling? Find out where you can get help

Useful resources

Starting primary school from BBC Bitesize has lots of useful information, advice and resources to help your child get ready for primary school.

Starting Primary School

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