Preschool is a fantastic opportunity for children to learn and grow, make new friends, meet new challenges and have fun. Research shows that attending preschool helps children develop, boost their social skills and get them ready for Kindergarten. But sending their child to preschool can be a tough decision for parents to make. Many parents struggle with deciding when their child should start preschool and how to know if their child is ready.
This post will discuss some of the signs that your child may be ready for preschool. We’ll also look at some signs that they aren’t ready yet, and look at how parents can help their kids learn skills to get them ready and excited for the next big step.
Taking The Next Step: When Should Your Child Start Preschool?
Many parents struggle with the decision to move their growing children into preschool. Some children may be cared for at home by their parents and aren’t used to being around other kids and adults. Some children may have other caregivers at home or attend daycare, and parents might worry if they are ready to transition into a preschool setting with a more extended schedule and larger groups of children.
Here are some of the signs that your kid is ready to start preschool.
They Are Independent
If your child is comfortable spending time playing on their own and wants to do things themselves, “Me do it!” it may be a good sign they are ready to go to preschool. Many toddlers and preschoolers want to do things independently, and often they have strong opinions about everything. This determination is a good sign that they are ready to take on some new independent challenges with some helpful boundaries at preschool.
They Interact Well With Other Children
Getting along with others is one of the most important things a child can learn. While this is a lifelong skill, it is helpful if your child can get along with other kids before they go to preschool. Make sure you watch how your child interacts with other children. Many kids lash out if they feel scared or angry, and it helps to make sure your child understands how to share, take turns and use their words if they have a problem.
They Are Potty Trained
Many preschools have a policy that children must be completely potty trained to attend. Mastering bathroom skills can help give your child confidence and help them feel like a “big kid.” And of course, accidents do happen, and preschool teachers always ask parents to bring an extra set of clothes, just in case.
They Have Good Stamina and Concentration Levels
Preschool schedules tend to involve more extended activities than daycares do. Some children aren’t used to the longer days or hours without nap times. Preschool activities also tend to involve 15-20 minute sessions, so it can be helpful if your child can stick with or concentrate on an activity for that length of time.
How to Help Your Child Get Ready for Preschool
Starting preschool is a big milestone for your child. While exciting, your child might also feel a little nervous about attending their new school. This is completely normal. As a parent, there are numerous ways that you can help your child prepare in the weeks leading up to when they start preschool.
Here are some of the best ways that you can help your child as they get ready for preschool.
Explore the Idea of Preschool Using Roleplay
We’ve spoken previously about how important roleplay is for your child’s development. This is another situation in which it can be beneficial. Take turns to act out being a teacher and a student or act out everyday preschool activities such as having circle time, reading stories, or playing outside with other children.
Introducing your child to the idea of preschool through play can help to get them familiarized with the change in routine and environment in the weeks leading up to the start of school.
Read Books about Preschool
There are many great books about preschool available online or in public libraries that you can read with your toddler in the months leading up to the beginning of preschool. Make sure to observe what is happening in the story and how each character is feeling.
Take Your Toddler Shopping for School Supplies
Starting preschool can bring about a lot of mixed emotions for children so try to make the experience as happy and fun as possible. Allowing your child to go with you while you buy any supplies they might need for preschool helps them to feel involved.
Perhaps let your child choose their own backpack or lunch box – this will give them a sense of control and responsibility. It will also emphasize that they are now a “big kid” who is about to start on a new adventure.
Talk to Your Child About Their Feelings and Worries
If your child is feeling a little worried or apprehensive about starting preschool, make sure that you sit down and listen to how they feel. While as parents, your first reaction may be to reassure your child, it is important to address any concerns that they may have. After all, how a child feels can greatly impact their experience of preschool.
Validate your child’s feelings and let them know that it is ok for them to feel sad, happy, scared, or excited. It can be helpful to share with them a time that you started something new and how you felt. It’s normal for your child to feel scared when starting a new preschool. By allowing them to talk about their feelings, you can help them to process their emotions and learn how to deal with them.
Starting Preschool: Why Parents Should Always Request a Tour
It is essential to request a tour of your potential child care facility before you decide to enroll your child. A tour allows you to meet the people caring for your child and ask questions about their care and the facility. It will give you a better understanding of the learning environment and connect with the people there.
Ultimately, every parent needs to do what is best for their family. If parents need to go back to work, or you’ve decided preschool is right for your child, any good preschool will help your child transition into the environment and help them adapt to the schedule no matter what stage they are in. At Vivvi, we meet you where you are to provide individualized care in your home or in one of our child care centers.
For more information on how to get your child ready for preschool or to schedule a virtual tour of one of our centers, contact our team today.