Practical Ways to Prepare When Going to School for the First Time

Practical Ways to Prepare When Going to School for the First Time

Practical Ways to Prepare When Going to School for the First Time

It’s that time of the year! Your little one is starting school and there are so many things to look forward to–new friends, fun activities and amazing teachers. While starting school is exciting, it can also be a little scary for children and parents. You might be asking yourself, how can I help my child feel prepared for their first days of school? We have a list that’s teacher approved!

Practice with lunch/snack containers and water bottles

As you compile all the necessities to keep your child nourished and hydrated during their school day, it is important to orient your child to their new lunchbox, snack containers, and water bottles. Practice opening and closing their lunchboxes and water bottles. Parents often do this for their children at home, but teachers might have 20+ students to help during snack or lunchtime. Make sure most of the things you purchase can be opened by your child without much assistance. The ability to care for themselves can help your child feel more comfortable in their environment!

Practice with shoes and coat

When buying shoes for school, keep your child’s abilities in mind. If they aren’t tying yet, choose shoes that slip on, or that they can put on without an adult. Depending on the weather, it can be helpful to practice with your child’s coat as well. 

Learning the coat flip is an easy way to help your child get ready for colder weather!

  • Place the coat on the ground in front of you, with the hood facing your body
  • Slide your arms into the sleeves of the coat
  • Quickly flip the coat over your head with arms still in the sleeves
  • Model this for your child as many times as they need until they can independently put on their own coat!

Practicing can help your child feel independent and confident on their first days of school! 

Support bathroom independence 

When sending your child to school, keep bathroom independence in mind. Pants and shorts with snaps, zippers, or buttons can be an added difficulty when learning about a new environment and new people. Choosing clothes that allow your child to easily and quickly access the bathroom can set them up for success during those first few days of school!

Create a morning routine

Mornings can be hectic–especially on those first few days of school. It can be helpful to start creating a morning routine before school begins.

Ways to simplify your morning routine:

  • Routine cards can give your child visual feedback on what is happening next.
  • Preparing an entryway that is accessible to your child. This space can include their backpack, socks, two shoe options, and a coat (or whatever is weather appropriate).
  • Try to be consistent. Children thrive on order. The start of school can be stressful for everyone, and making sure the mornings are simple and predictable can help ease some of that stress!


Our children don’t receive the same attention at school as they do at home. In many ways this is a positive environment to promote independence, as children have more opportunities to care for themselves. 

A few ways to practice self-care before school begins:

  • Using a tissue
  • Using toilet paper
  • Washing hands
  • Using a napkin 

Is there something that you do to help your child prepare for school? Let us know in the comments!

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