Starting school is a monumental step for little ones! In the weeks leading up to their first day, chances are your child will be feeling a huge range of emotions, which can be difficult to deal with for everyone in the family.
There are some lovely children’s books designed to ease children’s worries, help them to prepare for their first day at school, and learn how to recognise and regulate their own emotions. Building these books into your story time routine, or just snuggling up and reading them on a rainy day, can help your kid to feel understood and reassured.
This is a classic story, perfect if you have a child that tends to worry a lot. While it doesn’t specifically cover starting school for the first time, it’s still worth investing in. It’s the kind of book that teaches an important life lesson: what worries are, and how to stop them from taking over.
In this story, the main character Jenny can’t help but collect worries wherever she goes. She worries about everything: school, mean comments by other kids, if her dog has fleas. She even takes on worries that belong to other people. The worries – represented by little monsters – pile into Jenny’s bag. Soon, she realises that dragging the bag around is becoming too much for her.
Luckily, a friendly neighbour comes to help. Jenny and the neighbour sort her worries into groups, and one by one, they let them go. It’s a lovely story, and it’s the kind of book you can pull out with your kids whenever they start to take on worries of their own.
Come to School Too, Blue Kangaroo! By Emma Chichester Clark
This is the perfect book for little ones just starting school. When the main character Lily starts school, she wants her special toy, Blue Kangaroo, to go with her. Unfortunately, she gets so caught up in her first day that she leaves Blue Kangaroo there overnight. Blue Kangaroo gets up to some silly adventures at school, and this makes Jenny feel excited about her own school experience.
If your little one is feeling a bit nervous about starting school, this is the book to go for. It’s a celebration of the incredible adventures a child can have in primary school, and it’s a good story to read with your child over the summer in preparation.
This is another book that is perfect for children of all ages going back to school. Feelings is a great way to introduce your child to the concept of recognising and managing their own feelings. Being able to name their emotions is a powerful tool, especially in the run-up to starting school!
This beautiful book explores each feeling using beautiful imagery and metaphors. Anger is represented as a bubbling, seething volcano; excited is a sky erupting with fireworks on Bonfire Night.
Your child will probably be feeling mixed emotions in the run-up to school – nerves, excitement, sadness, worry, a bit of everything, really! – so this book is the perfect way to help your child to understand themselves a little better.
The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright and Jim Field
A gorgeous book about bravery in the face of fear, this follows a little mouse as he goes on an adventure to become a bit less meek. And so he goes to find help from a lion, the bravest creature he can think of. When he finally makes it, however, he realises the lion has fears of his own.
It’s funny and gorgeously illustrated, and the prose is engaging enough to keep kids and adults entertained. Importantly, it contains the crucial message that many kids may need to hear in the run-up to their first day at school: ‘No matter your size, we all have a mouse and a lion inside.’
This book will spark some lovely conversations about what bravery actually is and how to dig down and find your inner courage.
Birdie Lights Up the World by Alison McLennan and Lauren Mullinder
Birdie Lights Up the World is a sweet book about a penguin on a mission to find her purpose in life. Birdie believes that her singing each night makes the moon rise and the stars begin to shine; but when she loses her voice and the night falls anyway, she wonders what her place is in the world.
It’s a sweet little book about finding – and sharing – your gifts. For a small child about to embark upon their biggest adventure yet, it’s a reassuring story. Penguin realises that her voice is important to her loved ones, even if it doesn’t make the moon come out each night, and that’s a lovely message to share with a child!
Featured and main article image, credit: Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels