How to Tell if Your Child is Ready for School

We’re at the time of year in where families are questioning how to tell if your child is ready to start school.

I went through the same thing myself last year!

It was such a big decision for our family to decide whether to send our four-year-old daughter to school or to wait until the next January.

In the UK, where I’m from, decisions like this are not in our hands. If your child is aged five within a certain date range, off to school they go in the September.

I’m still figuring out which process I prefer. So today I’m handing over to my friend Kelly at All Mum Said who is going to share her advice!

Related: Sound School Learning Review

School Kids Drawing

Is Your Child Ready to Start School?

As parents, we’re often desperate for someone to tell us if we’re doing this whole ‘parenting’ thing right. We flick through books, we check online forums and we ask our friends. We get conflicting advice and we get frustrated because…

Here’s the thing. No one has all the answers. There’s no hard and fast set of rules or expectations that can apply to every child. Our children are unique creatures and, although they drive us wild at times, their individuality is just what we love about them. So how do we know when they are ready for school?

Getting Ready for School

There are age cut-offs in every state and territory for starting school. These align with the children’s birth dates. But is birth date alone enough to make a decision with? Many parents are now delaying entry to school to give their children another year of play.

While there is no ‘test’ to pass, there are a few factors that may assist navigation of this tricky territory. Ask yourself the following about your child:


Is your child capable of things like dressing themselves, toileting themselves, opening their lunchbox and returning it when they’re done? These are key school skills that might be well worth practising as you prepare for the transition into formalised education.

Related: What to Pack in a School Bag + Free School Bag Checklist!


Can your child recognise colours and shapes? Do they have a basic grasp of literacy and numeracy? This could be something as simple as counting to ten or recognising and naming some letters.

Personal Awareness

Does your child know their name? Do they know how old they are? What are the names of their parents? Knowing this basic information can help them form a grasp on identity and self-awareness.

School Stationery
Can your child use scissors, hold a pencil or crayon?

Physical Skills

How are their fine motor skills? Can they use scissors? Hold a pencil or crayon? Do they do puzzles and can they use glue?

Check in with the experts

Talk to your children’s current educators about what they think. There is no pressure to begin school just because everyone else in the class is. Many children benefit from an extra year of play. You want to set your child up to THRIVE, not just survive.

It can be a stressful decision for parents, especially in the lead up to the new schooling year but it doesn’t have to be. We hope these points have given you something to consider when making your decision.

You can find out more about schooling in Australia here.

A big thanks to Kell for sharing her advice!

Read next:


Is your child ready to start school? This mum of four shares how to tell if your child is ready for school and tips for getting ready for school. #startingschool #backtoschool #school #primaryschool #australianschools #australianmums

And what about you – did you know how to tell if your child is ready for school?


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I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land I work and live on, the Awabakal peoples, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.
I thank them wholeheartedly and express my love and gratitude for the privilege to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world and for the opportunity for my family to be part of this vibrant and supportive community.