Education Blog

Question: My daughter is struggling to settle at primary school – what should I do? 

The Telegraph, 15 September 2016 – Read the article in full here.


Vivienne Durham: Have a timetable at home and let your daughter know what to expect every day

My heart goes out to you. Starting reception is a huge rite of passage for your daughter – and indeed, for you.

As you will know, it is not uncommon for young children to cry when their parents drop them off at school, only to be the life and soul of the classroom within a few minutes. Usually, this behaviour settles of its own accord, as going to school becomes part of a familiar and positive daily routine for a child.

You are quite right not to linger, after dropping your daughter off at school. It is very hard to muster a semblance of calm normality, but your daughter will be highly sensitive to your own response and your confidence will establish the reassurance she needs. Going to school with a friend is a practical tip that might also help.

Please talk with your daughter’s classroom teachers. They will tell you about your daughter’s behaviour during the day, which might set your mind at rest.  

Make sure you understand the school day so that you can talk reassuringly to your daughter.

Ask where your daughter sits in the classroom and whether she is making friends. Make sure you understand the school day so that you can talk reassuringly to your daughter: routines such as assembly and lunch-time can be daunting for a young child. 

You could also check whether the school would allow your daughter to bring a small favourite toy from home into school? Similarly, bringing home a classroom toy or a favourite school library book might ease the transition for your daughter. 

When your daughter comes home, try to ask only one or two positive and specific questions about her day, such as, “Tell me two good things that happened in the playground?”.

Have a timetable at home and let your daughter know what to expect at school every day. Creating this structure will help your daughter to become increasingly happy and familiar with her new school life.

Vivienne Durham, schools advisory director at Enjoy Education and former head at Francis Holland School, Regent’s Park


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