My child is starting school without any transition days – what can I do to help?

Posted 14th August, 2020

Starting primary school can be nerve-wracking enough for children and parents alike without missing out on those seemingly-vital transition days. While those transition days can be helpful for your children to meet their classmates and be introduced to their surroundings, they will still thrive even though they have missed out on them. 2020 will definitely go down in history!

Children are ever so resilient and will probably be more excited than they are nervous about starting school, they may have even forgotten that they were meant to attend a transition day at all – unless they have heard their parents talk about it non-stop through the summer holidays of course!

It can often be parents who worry the most and those anxieties can rub off on the little ones too, so be sure to try and keep your cool around them and talk about the positives rather than the negatives – tell them all about the things they will be doing and not the things they missed out on!


What can you do to help your child prepare for school?


Boost their confidence

Throughout the summer, talk positively about starting school and how exciting it will be. It’s a fine line between talking positively and overwhelming them so do tread carefully!

Why not meet up with other parents whose children are starting at the same school? 

A quick post in a local Facebook group and, thanks to the power of social media, you will definitely find other parents in the same boat. You could meet up at the park so that your children can become friends before school starts which will put your mind at ease, calm any of your child’s nerves and fuel their excitement about school too.


Prepare them for the change

The nursery graduates of 2020 will have been out of their ‘normal’ routine for quite some time now, so it’s important to prepare them. You could spend a few days towards the end of the summer holidays practicing school – getting up early, getting dressed, having pretend learning sessions – make it fun! 

There’s also lunchtime to think about. If your child will be having packed lunches you could practise with their brand new lunchbox, or if they will be having school dinners you will be able to find the menu online and maybe try some of the meals with your child (this is especially helpful if they’re a bit fussy!).

Maybe they haven’t carried a tray before (because what need have they had?!) so maybe they could serve their own lunch on a tray and carry it to the table by themselves – maybe start with sandwiches in case they end up on the floor and progress to a roast dinner with gravy!


Encourage independence

Primary school is a huge step for your child in terms of their independence. At ABC Day Nursery our children are fortunate enough to develop plenty of skills that aid their independence through The Curiosity Approach, but a new setting can often make them feel slightly nervous for the first few weeks. 

Encourage your child to be confident and reassure them about any potential new challenges that they may not feel ready for. Going to the toilet can be a big challenge for little ones joining reception as they sometimes still have some help from mummy or daddy. Plenty of practise will do the trick, and remember to be patient with them and don’t get too agitated if they get in a mess – it will only cause them anxiety. Remind them to tell a teacher when they need to go to avoid any accidents and further anxieties. 

New uniform is a big one to think about too. The children are often very excited about their new clothes, so it won’t be too difficult to practise getting them dressed – don’t forget about their PE kit too as they will be getting changed into that on their own. You could have a fun game of who can get changed out of their school/work uniform first and into their sporty PE/gym gear first – mummy/daddy or child!

Hygiene in school – this will be at the top of the priority list in September for obvious reasons and children will have become accustomed to the hand washing by then (they already have and are excellent at it!) but it is worth a reminder anyway (and everyone loves singing happy birthday several times a day whilst rubbing those hands together!)


Last but not least… know that any of the nerves that your child or you are experiencing are totally normal. Starting primary school is a scary time and a big step in your child’s development but we know that all of our ABC graduates have the best parents and carers they could wish for who will support them all the way. They are more than ready to take this next step to primary school and we’re sure they will all be superstars!

We hope you are having a super summer and we cannot wait to see our beautiful ABC children standing in their smart school uniforms for the classic front door photo on their first day!