Children need a secure emotional relationship with their parent/carer in order to grow and develop physically and emotionally. A secure relationship is central to a child’s capacity to engage with school and to relate to others.


Starting school for the first time can be very exciting for many young children, they are keen to make new friends and learn new things. However, some children become very anxious about starting school.  The anxiety at this age is usually related to separation from the main carer in an unfamiliar environment.


Strategies that can help reduce anxiety

Gradually increase the length of separation prior to starting school

Be clear that you will return and when – do not use time if they do not understand this rather use situations such as “after lunch”

Take them to look around the school and be positive and excited about the experience

Maintain that positive approach when attending settling in sessions, reminding them of all the new toys to play with, and the new friends they will make

Remind the child that their teacher is very nice and that should they need to ask anything they can ask him/her

Remember that little people have ears and if they hear you talking about their fears it will increase them

Only use positive language when talking about going to school and the fun they will have

Do not anticipate that they will have a bad experience and try not to say this to teachers when you take them into school.

Children pick up on parent’s anxiety so if you’re positive they will be too.