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Settling in at primary school

Once your child has got over the hurdle of the first day, it will take them some time to adjust to their new routine. You can help them manage with our top five tips.

1. Be prepared for a very tired child

Even if your child is used to a long day at nursery, a school day can be exhausting. It’s a good idea not to plan too many activities for after school for the first few weeks. If your child seems really tired, you might want to bring bedtime forward until they adjust.

2. Check their book bag

While lots of schools communicate with parents by email or using special apps, important letters and forms from school are still sent home regularly. You might need to sign something, or organise fancy dress for a dressing up day. You might also find wrappers, discarded fruit and glitter-covered works of art lurking at the bottom of their bag.

3. Be ready for tears and tantrums

This doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a problem, it’s just that all the excitement coupled with tiredness may mean that they need some extra attention and reassurance for a while. You might want to have a couple of treats in reserve in case your your child has a particularly tricky day while they are still adjusting.

4. Organise play-dates

Try to arrange opportunities to meet up and play with a wide range of children from the class (if your child feels up to it). One-to-one playtime can help to develop lasting friendships and is particularly important if your child is a little shy or takes longer to settle. It can also be a good opportunity to get to know other parents.

5. Meet the teacher

It can be really helpful to meet and get to know your child's teacher. This will help you understand what your child is learning in school, and what you can do to support them at home. This also makes it easier for either you or your teacher to bring up any concerns.

Not all children develop at the same pace.

If your child finds school a bit tricky to begin with, don’t panic, as they will get there in the end with your help and encouragement. Do let the school staff know about any concerns and that way they’ll be ready to help.

We have lots of advice and fun ideas to help your child learn over on the main Oxford Owl website:

Fun learning ideas for ages 4–5 >
Maths at home for ages 4–5 >
Reading at home for ages 4–5 >