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Getting ready for the first day of primary school: A parent’s checklist

The first day of primary school is an exciting and emotional milestone for both you and your child. As your little one steps into this new chapter of their life, it’s natural to want to ensure they are fully prepared. But with so much to consider, where do you start?

Preparing for the first day of school involves more than just buying supplies. It’s about setting up routines, fostering a positive attitude, and making sure your child feels confident and ready!

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to prepare your child for their first day of primary school. From practical tips on what to pack to advice on emotional readiness, we’ll help you make this transition as smooth and joyful as possible. 

Let’s get started on making your child’s first day a memorable and positive experience!

1. School supplies

First things first, get all the necessary school supplies as per the school’s list. This usually includes items like notebooks, pencils, crayons, markers, erasers, scissors, glue sticks, and folders. Don’t forget to check if there are any extra supplies needed for special subjects like art or physical education. And a little tip – label everything with your child’s name to avoid any mix-ups or losses.

Now, here’s a fun idea: take your child along for the supply shopping. Letting them choose their own supplies can really build up excitement for school and make them feel more involved in the process. Picking out a favorite backpack or colorful notebooks can turn this ordinary task into a fun and memorable experience. Plus, preparing these supplies together not only ensures they have everything they need but also helps them look forward to the start of the school year with enthusiasm!

Remember, this isn’t just about ticking off items on a list; it’s about creating a positive and exciting lead-up to their big day. So make it a fun adventure!

2. Uniforms

Make sure you have all the required uniforms ready and that your child feels comfortable wearing them. It’s a good idea to spend some time practicing dressing in the school uniform to ensure your child can do it independently. This includes fastening buttons, zipping zippers, and tying shoelaces. Teaching them these basic life skills will not only boost their confidence but also make getting ready for school each day much smoother!

You can turn this into a fun and empowering activity by turning it into a mini fashion show. Encourage your child to practice getting dressed on their own and cheer them on as they master each step. This will make them feel proud and capable, turning what could be a stressful morning routine into a confident start to their day. Plus, it’s a great way to bond and make them feel excited about wearing their new uniform.

3. Lunch and snacks

Preparing a healthy lunch and snacks for your child is key to keeping them energized and focused throughout the school day. Focus on balanced meals that include fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains. Since school lunch and snack times are usually limited, it might help to get your child used to eating a bit quicker if they tend to take their time at home.

A great way to do this is to practice eating lunch together a few times before school starts, timing the meals to mimic the school’s lunch period. This will help your child adapt to the time constraints and ensure they get enough to eat during their school day. Plus, involving your child in selecting and preparing their lunch and snacks can give them a sense of ownership and excitement about their meals.

Let them pick out their favorite fruits or help make a sandwich – this can turn a mundane task into a fun activity. And don’t forget to pack a water bottle to keep them hydrated! By making lunchtime a bit of an adventure, you’ll not only ensure they have a nutritious meal but also help them look forward to it!

4. Medical information and emergency contact details

Make sure to complete any required medical forms and inform the school about any allergies or medical conditions your child has, such as asthma or other health concerns. Provide detailed instructions for any necessary medications and ensure the school staff understands how to administer them if needed.

It’s crucial that the school has up-to-date emergency contact information. This should include phone numbers for parents or guardians, as well as any additional contacts who can be reached in case of an emergency. Take the time to discuss any specific procedures with the school nurse or administrative staff to ensure everyone is prepared and your child’s health and safety needs are met.

Doing this preparation will give you peace of mind, knowing that the school is equipped to handle any medical situations that might arise. Plus, it ensures your child is well taken care of throughout their school day. So take a few moments to double-check all the details and communicate clearly with the school staff – it’s worth the effort to ensure your child’s well-being.

5. Transport arrangements

If you’re driving your child to school, establish a consistent routine. Set a specific departure time each morning to ensure you’re not rushing and have ample time to get to school safely. Familiarize yourself with the school’s drop-off and pick-up procedures to avoid any confusion on the first day.

For those using motorbikes, ensure that both you and your child have appropriate safety gear, such as helmets. Practice the route a few times to make sure you’re comfortable with it, and review any road safety rules with your child.

If your child will be walking to school, it’s a good idea to practice the route together several times before the first day. Discuss safety tips like looking both ways before crossing the street and walking with a buddy if possible.

Regardless of the transport method, make sure your child knows who will be picking them up each day and establish a consistent pick-up routine. This will help your child feel secure and know what to expect at the end of the school day.

6. Talk about what to expect

Discussing the daily routine with your child is a great way to set realistic expectations and ease any anxieties they might have about starting school. Go over what a typical school day will look like, including activities, lunchtime, and playtime.

Explain the different parts of the day in a way that is easy for them to understand. You might say something like, “First, you’ll start with a morning greeting and some fun activities, then you’ll have your lessons. After that, it’s lunchtime, and you can enjoy your favorite snacks. In the afternoon, there will be more activities, and you’ll get to play with your friends during playtime.”

It’s also helpful to talk about any specific routines the school has, such as lining up to enter the classroom, storing their backpack, or raising their hand to speak. This can help your child feel more prepared and know what to expect.

Additionally, discussing the people they’ll meet, like their teacher and classmates, can make the new environment feel more familiar. Share positive stories about your own school experiences to build excitement and reassure them that school is a fun and safe place.

7. Gradual separation

Helping your child get used to being apart from you is an important step in preparing for the first day of school. Gradual separation can ease any anxiety they might feel and build their confidence in being independent.

Start with short periods of separation. For example, leave them with a trusted relative or friend for a brief time while you run an errand. Gradually increase the duration of these separations over the weeks leading up to the first day of school.

You can also practice this at home by encouraging your child to play independently in their room or another safe space while you are nearby but not immediately present. This helps them become comfortable with the idea of being on their own.

Reassure your child that you will always come back and that they are safe during these short separations. Use positive language and emphasize the fun and exciting things they will do while you’re apart.

By gradually increasing the time apart and reinforcing positive messages, you’ll help your child build the resilience and confidence they need for their first day of school. This preparation will make the transition smoother and ensure your child feels secure and ready for this new chapter.


Remember, the goal is to create a positive and supportive environment that makes your child feel excited about this new adventure. Each preparation step not only equips them with the practical tools they need but also builds their emotional readiness.

As the big day approaches, take a moment to celebrate this milestone. It’s a time of growth and new beginnings for your child and a proud moment for you as a parent.

With these preparations in place, you can look forward to seeing your child thrive and enjoy their first experiences at school. Here’s to a fantastic start to their primary school journey – and to many more memorable moments ahead!

Good luck, and enjoy this special milestone together!

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