Determining Whether Your Child is Ready for Preschool

There is no set age for when your child has to be in preschool; some parents send their little ones to preschool at as early as 2 years old while others wait until their children are 4 years old. The important thing to consider when deciding to send your little one to preschool is determining whether it is socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively ready for it. You can do this by discussing the issue with your spouse, family members, experienced friends, or your pediatrician. You can also use the below list to determine whether your little one has the right basics covered to help make the transition easier.  

A Fair Level of Independence

Your child will find it easier to get used to and enjoy preschool if it has established some level of independence in taking care of its daily needs, such as being able to wash its hands on its own, use the potty with a little assistance, eat its lunch without much help, and sleep alone.    

Ability to Express Needs

A child that can articulate to some degree what it needs has a better chance of adjusting to its new environment as well as getting along with the teachers and other children. Speech development progresses in children at varying rates, but many children by the age of 3 will be able to use simple 3 to 5-word sentences, which should be enough to express themselves to some degree. 

Spending Time Away from Mommy

If your little one is used to spending time away from you with a babysitter or at a relative's place, preschool will be much easier to tackle. If it is not used to it yet, schedule some time away from you such as a weekend at grandma's or a day with your friend and her kids. Don't worry if you don't manage to settle your child's separation issues before it starts preschool; you can always begin sending your little one for 1-2 hours to preschool each day for a few days and gradually increase the duration until it is completely used to being away from you. 

Artwork and Playing Solo

Since preschool involves a considerable amount of artwork and crafts projects, an ability to work and concentrate on its own would benefit your child but is not a must, as your little one will be learning to hone these skills with time in class. You can help your child become more adept at working on its own by encouraging it to draw at home, put a simple puzzle together or play with clay without your assistance.  

Participating in Group Activities

A lot of preschool activities involve group participation, so the better your little one is at interacting with other children the more at ease it will be in taking part in these group activities and enjoying its time at preschool. This also involves an ability to sit still, listen to stories and sing songs. Introduce your child to group activities if it isn't used to them yet. 

Keeping a Regular Schedule

Children feel more comfortable when they know what's coming next, which is the case when it comes to preschool schedules. If your child doesn't follow a routine or schedule at home, it might help to begin establishing one by sticking to a certain hour for mealtimes and creating a bedtime routine.