back-to-school-for-teens-800x570 (1).jpgStarting primary school is an exciting adventure for a parent/carer and their child, but it can feel daunting and can be hard to know if your child is truly ready for this next step.

North Cumbria Integrated Care’s School Aged Immunisation Team is responsible for delivering the school based immunisation programme in Cumbria. Our specially trained team is made up of clinical leads, nurses, support staff and apprentices.

If your child is due their vaccination, a consent form will be sent to you and your child’s school/educational establishment.

Kerry Foot, School Immunisation Lead at NCIC, said: “Without vaccines, we are at risk of serious illness and disability from diseases like meningitis, measles pneumonia, tetanus and polio. Its estimated that childhood vaccines alone save more than four million lives every year.

“Vaccines protect ourselves and those around us. Not everyone can be vaccinated so they depend on others to be vaccinated to ensure they are also safe from vaccine preventable diseases.”

When your child starts school, it may be the first time they have been away from you and it can be a stressful time for both of you. Alternatively, your child may have already experienced a childcare setting.

Helping your child cope with changes by making transitions as smooth as possible will help build their resilience to changes. Your child may experience some level of anxiety at being separated from you. Reception teachers will be familiar with supporting children who find the start of the school day upsetting.

Preparing your child is key

Sleep, good hand washing, exercise, healthy eating and brushing your teeth are all important things to master before starting school.


Getting enough sleep is essential for our physical, emotional and mental well-being. Sleep deprivation can affect our attention, concentration, memory, behaviour and makes us feel anxious, irritable, overactive, aggressive and depressed. Looking after a child who has a sleep problem can be exhausting and have a significant impact on them and the whole family.

Get more healthy sleep tips for children


Washing hands and wiping noses are two of the best ways to stop germs spreading in a school setting. Some children will readily wash or clean themselves, others may not.

By making washing hands and nose wiping a fun activity, for example, through songs, children may be more likely to remember to do it.

Going to the toilet

Supporting your child to use the toilet by themselves is an exciting new stage in getting ready for school and is key for their independence.

Ideally your child will be able to:

  • go to the toilet by themselves
  • wipe themselves and flush the toilet
  • wash and dry their hands.

Teeth cleaning

A regular teeth cleaning routine is essential for good dental health. Children between age three and six-years-old should:

  • brush at least twice daily for about 2 minutes
  • brush last thing at night before bed and at least on 1 other occasion
  • use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste
  • spit out after brushing and don’t rinse as the fluoride won’t work as well.

You should supervise your child while they brush their teeth.

Find out more about taking care of your children’s teeth

Make brushing fun with the Brush DJ app on your mobile device

Meal times

For many families, school, work schedules and extracurricular activities can make it difficult to find time to eat together. Family meals are important and should be considered part of your daily routine.

Children who eat family meals tend to eat a wider variety of nutritious foods and become less fussy eaters. This can be very important if your child will be having school dinners for the first time.

If your child will be having school dinners, you could practice carrying a tray at home, make this a fun game to play. Before walking with food, start by carrying smaller things on the tray like a notepad or a teddy. When your child feels confident, see if they can carry their lunch from the kitchen to where they eat, using their tray.

Ideally your child will be able to:

  • walk with a tray
  • use a knife and fork
  • pour a drink
  • open packaging.

PACEY – Being School Ready have a range of resources, videos and advice for parents.