Classlist Parents

16 parent tips for starting primary school.

Mother fixing her daughter's coat as she drops her to school


Who better to give you advice on the school run than parents who do it day in and day out? So, we asked a group of mums to let us in on their top parent tips for starting primary school. The result is 16 great nuggets of advice from mums on what to buy, getting the routine right, settling your child at school and dealing with the inevitable initial tiredness. We are going to put a few of them in action too!


Things to buy
  • “If you need shorts, buy them early. By September, the shops are full of long trousers, but it’s often still sunny when term starts.” Louise
  • “Schools often have second hand uniform for sale, which is useful for things like school branded jumpers, which you can’t get in a supermarket. You’ll need plenty of uniform backup because it always comes home covered in lunch.” Amy
  • “Buy school shoes in the last week of holidays to avoid growth spurt dramas. And steer clear of lace-ups – teachers will thank you for it.” Verity
  • “Buy generic school uniform when it goes on sale in the summer. Supermarkets have offers, but be quick because the smaller sizes go quickly.” Helen


Additions to your routine
  • “Apply eight-hour sunscreen before you leave the house. Also, keep an eye out for nits by doing a weekly comb through in front of the TV.” Nadine
  • “Be organised. You can’t expect a four or five-year-old to remember their PE kit or reading folder. I have a list on the fridge for each kid for each term.” Louise
  • “Schools (unlike nursery) have strict timings for drop off and pick up. Mornings were stressful for us until I started getting the shoes and bags lined up the night before and even laying the breakfast table.” Verity
  • “I prepare everything the night before, sometimes even putting all the bags in the car too. I’ve also used a reward chart for my daughter for getting dressed independently as soon as she wakes up.” Charlotte
  • “This is one I use every day: count to five to check the packed lunch is ready. 1. Fruit 2. Drink 3. Sandwich 4. Yoghurt 5. Treat/Snack.” Louise


First day advice and extra help settling in
  • “I know we all want that first day photo, but try to make it a normal day without too much fuss.”  Lisa
  • “Don’t bring other relations with you on day one – it’s already hectic without extra people tagging along.” Rowan
  • “If a little one is having problems separating at drop off, ask the teacher to give them a job to do as soon as they arrive. It really helped my son Joseph to be the ‘handy helper’ on arrival. Being given a job by the teacher is distracting and also makes the child feel important. Depending on what the school rules are, it can help some children to bring their special teddy or toy with them and leave it on the teacher’s desk for the day.” Charlotte
  • “If you haven’t already, introduce your child to the prospect of other families with different  setups, such as two Mums, two Dads, or two different homes at different times of the week. If your family doesn’t conform to the norm, consider meeting the class or headteacher beforehand – it may reduce awkward moments later on.” Helen


 Dealing with tiredness
  • “Never underestimate how tired your children will be when they come home. Don’t plan anything in the evenings after school at first – just an early supper and an unhurried bedtime routine.” Heidi
  • “Don’t bombard them with questions as soon as you pick them up. You can ask away later.” Louise
  • “Bring snacks at pick up time. Sometimes kids need a little energy boost just to get home.” Phoebe

We were so taken with how keen our group of mums were to share their hard won tips. Want to find your own band of welcoming parents when you start school? You can’t beat the PTA as a first point of call. Many PTAs organise coffee mornings to welcome new parents to the school and joining the PTA is a great way to get to know other parents – they are always grateful for a helping hand.