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Parent top tips for surviving the first year of school

What do you wish you’d known before you sent your child off to school? We asked our readers for their top tips on preparing their children for school and surviving the school run. Here’s what they said:

Packed lunches

“Have a dedicated box for drinks and snacks so you easily pull things out, and the kids know not to touch it.” Kate

“Freeze yoghurt tubes or juice boxes to keep lunch cool without need for icepacks.” Ann

“If they take a packed lunch, try and include things that are easy to open, such as squeezy yoghurts. That way you won’t end up constantly washing yoghurt stains from their jumper!” Claire

Your calendar

“Look out for the school newsletter and write any dates relevant to your child’s class on the calendar. There is nothing worse than forgetting it’s mufti day and sending your child in in their uniform.” Lisa

“Buy a family calendar with a column for each person in the family. Within a year of them being at school they will have so many school and social events to remember. There’s nothing worse than forgetting to turn up for Sports Day!!” Janet

Getting out of the house on time…

“Draw out a schedule with the kids, with pictures of the clock showing the right time next to pictures for: breakfast, getting dressed, cleaning your teeth, brush your hair, being ready at the door.” Stephanie

“Put the timer on your phone on 5 minutes before it’s time to go and challenge the kids to beat the countdown.” Matthew

“Have a dedicated space near the front door for school shoes and book bags. NO-ONE is allowed to go to bed without their shoes, coats and book bags being in their proper place. It also helps if everyone knows exactly where the hairbrush is.” Annie

“My tip for the school run is: leave at exactly the same time every day for the school run and do everything in the same order. That way, finding lost jumpers / school shoes / music book / instruments / trousers / skirts will be less stressful and your kids will eventually work out the routine for themselves.” Mike

Preparing your child for life’s little challenges
“Teach them to do up their shoes and change into plimsolls and then practise, practise, practise!” Barbara

Supporting their learning at home

“If you are not already up to speed, try to spend some time reading up and learning your phonics! It’s really helpful if you understand what your child is learning at school – it makes it much easier to support them at home!” Louise

 

Guide to Starting School

You’ll find lots of helpful advice and resources in the Guide to Starting School section of the Oxford Owl website, including fun maths games and a guide to phonics.