Sending your child to preschool can give them a huge educational head start, but not every child who reaches preschool age is ready to attend. While preschool can be a fun, beneficial experience for some children, it may be stressful for others. Here’s how to tell whether or not your child is ready to enter preschool.
Consider Their Communication and Understanding Level
By the time most children reach preschool age, they should be able to verbalize their needs and follow simple instructions. If your child can’t communicate their need to visit the restroom or line up by the door for recess when told, they may not be ready for preschool. While preschool provides an environment for children to sharpen their communication and listening skills, your child may become frustrated and embarrassed if they feel completely unheard and lost in the classroom.
Observe Their Social Skills
The ability to socialize, share toys, and play nicely with other children is vital to your child’s success in preschool. Every preschooler has bad days and sometimes refuses to share, but if it is a consistent issue with your child, they may need more help at home before entering a preschool classroom.
Pay Attention to Attachment
How does your child feel when you leave for work? Do they kick, cry, and scream, or do they happily start playing with their toys without giving your leaving a second thought? If your child has a meltdown every time you leave them with the babysitter, they may be struggling with separation anxiety. Some anxiety is normal when children first enter preschool, but daily meltdowns could be a sign of a deeper issue. If your child has never been away from you, do a couple of test runs and leave them with a trusted adult for a few hours to gauge how they will react when you drop them off at preschool.
Make Sure They Are Toilet-Trained
Your child should be fully toilet-trained before entering preschool to avoid accidents. If you want your child to attend school before they are toilet-trained, you should verify with the pre-k elementary admissions team what their rules are on this matter. They will be able to answer any questions you have on your child’s care and what maturity levels are expected.
Every child grows at their own pace. Following these guidelines can help you decide if your child is ready for preschool. At the end of the day, it’s best to trust your parental intuition and do what you feel is best for your child.