Starting Elementary School

For little ones, the transition to elementary school can be an exciting change, but for children with cystic fibrosis (CF), new routines can be especially overwhelming. Remember entering a school full of new friends, teachers, and experiences for the first time? It’s only natural for you or your loved one to feel a bit nervous, but when that first bell rings, they’ll be having fun in no time at all. Here are some tips to make your loved ones’ first day of school an unforgettable one!

Talk about CF with your loved one

As your child makes their way through elementary school, further questions about their CF diagnosis will begin to emerge. These questions might seem simple at first, but over time, they might start to catch you off guard! Whether your loved one notices that other children at school don’t do treatments, or they start to get asked questions by curious classmates, helping them to understand more about their diagnosis and the importance of avoiding germs, eating right, and doing treatments can go a long way. Questions like these are only natural, and by providing your child with a few CF talking points, you can help them build their confidence while breaking the ice around new faces. Who knows? Maybe they will make their first lifelong friend this way!


You can talk to your child about CF at any stage, when you feel comfortable. It’s good to teach them about it when they’re young to help prepare them to take on more responsibility in the future.

Meet with school employees

Meet with school employees

As a caregiver, you want your child to be safe and cared for at school. So, as you begin to feel more comfortable, talk with the teacher and school nurse about CF and what it means for your child.

Talk about classroom illnesses. Let the teacher know that your child may get sick more easily if others are sick, so it’s important for you to know about any illnesses going around. You may also want to discuss the importance of frequent hand washing as a way to minimize the risk of infection for your child.


Set expectations. Let the teacher know if your child needs any accommodations, such as carrying tissues or a water bottle, leaving a few minutes early for lunch to pick up medicine from the nurse’s office, or having more frequent bathroom breaks.
Work with the school nurse. Develop a plan for how your child will take medications during the school day, if necessary, and where the medications will be kept.

It may make your child more comfortable on the first day of school if he or she has met the teacher and school nurse beforehand.

Get academic assistance


If your child needs extra assistance in school, there are a few different programs that could help. Here are some examples:

  • A school 504 plan provides academic accommodations for children with disabilities. It can help your child get access to their learning environment and help set them up for academic success

  • An individualized education plan (IEP) provides special education and related services that meet the unique needs of the child

Explore More Ways to Support Your Child

Check It Out

Set your child up for a
successful year back at
school with this checklist

Set your child up for
a successful year back
at school with
this checklist

Check It Out

Figure out how to ask for school accommodations
with this IEP guide

Figure out how to ask for school accommodations with this IEP guide