KidStart’s Reception School Guide

Starting Reception is a massive milestone for every child (and us parents!) so we’ve put together some tips for things to buy and do to make it go smoothly.

A bit of prep is just what’s needed to ensure you and your little one feel relaxed and excited about the next step in their life. Especially as this year will be very different with covid guidelines, make sure to speak to your kids about this so they know what to expect.

School uniform

First on the list is school uniform (if your child has to wear one), you should have had communication from you school of what your little one needs to wear. Whether any items are school branded and what they need for P.E lessons – we recommend a little draw string bag so your child can carry their kit to school.

When it comes to buying school uniforms take into account how much your child may grow, so may be worth buying the slightly bigger and take advantage of any back to school sales that are on. Always buy more than one of each item as you may have spillages and tears to deal with. We recommend three shirts, two pairs of trousers or skirts and two cardigans, jumpers or sweatshirts.

There will be anything from 15-30 little ones in your child’s class, so you can understand that your child will need to be able to dress and undress themselves independently. Set aside some time to teach your child to deal with buttons and zips to give them a head start. Their teacher will thank you!

Some clothes manufacturers have adapted top buttons on shirts to include Velcro fastening and trousers and skirts to have easy clips rather than buttons for ease.

Our favourite retailers for school uniforms are John Lewis – get 5% back (usually 1.5%), M&S – 1.3% back and Matalan – 0.6% back.

School shoes

Your child will be taking shoes on and off for PE, therefore, like their uniform, ease is key. It is recommended that reception children have Velcro shoes or popper claps shoes so that they can put their shoes on themselves.

When it comes to shoes Clarks are the experts, they offer virtual and in-store fittings and will take into account grow room – you can get 2% back with KidStart too. The retailers mentioned above also have a great range of school shoes too!


If your little one is staying in school for lunch make sure they’re comfortable opening their lunchbox, any packaging on food so they feel relaxed. Speak to them about what they want for lunch and make it together, there’s some great tips online on how to make lunches fun and nutritious for young children. We recommend this BBC Good Food post.

School activities

It’s a great idea to talk about the types of lessons and activities your children will be doing in school as a way to spark some interest in their school days.

Focus on things they like, such as playing with Lego or arts and crafts, playing football, making new friends, and talk about how grown up they’ll be learning to read, write and count.

Hand washing and going to the bathroom

By the time your child starts school and especially for this year’s Reception start, it is really important that all children can use the toilet, wipe themselves, flush the toilet and given the current climate, wash and sanitise their hands.

We love this blog post from the Classlist which has some fab tips from parents for parents whose kids are starting primary school

If your little one is nervous about starting school check out our article on 10 tips to combat back to school nerves.

Good luck to all of the children starting or heading back to school. To keep up to date with back to school at KidStart check out our new Hub.