Your child can’t sit still for long periods of time. He or she isn’t completely potty-trained. Your little one would never be able to withstand hours away from you! These are just a few of the reasons we can come up with to discourage ourselves from signing our children up for preschool.
If you’re currently struggling with the decision of whether or not preschool is right for your family, that’s a good thing. Your child’s first school experience is important, and if he or she genuinely isn’t ready, then pushing them out the door may not be a good idea. But it’s also important to make sure you’re basing your decision on reasonable expectations.
Many preschools, like Suncoast Academy, don’t require children to be completely potty-trained before admitting them, for instance. And few preschools are going to expect your early learner to sit silent and still for long periods of time.
Make sure you have a keen understanding of what your child truly needs before deciding whether preschool is a good fit for your family.
Do You Feel Your Child Needs More Stimulation?
Does your tot get bored easily? Do you find yourself spending more time than you really have trying to come up with innovative projects and ways to keep him or her engaged all day long? If so, they would likely flourish at preschool. Between story times, role playing activities and other projects that stimulate motor skills and cognitive learning, preschool keeps early learners engaged and growing.
Does Your Child Enjoy Social Interaction?
If your 3-year-old enjoys playing with cousins, friends or even at the park with strangers his or her own age, they’re probably going to enjoy getting to know classmates at preschool. Even shy children might enjoy socializing more than parents realize. Barnardo J. Carducci, Ph.D. is the director of the Shyness Research Institute in New Albany who says that even shy kids often wish they could join in and that it’s fear that typically holds them back. Giving reluctant kids a safe environment in which to meet and get to know peers can be empowering.
Is Your Child Adept at Mastering Simple Self-Care?
Does your child yearn to do things independently? Is he or she always trying to wash their hands alone or brush their teeth without help? Do they want to try out new activities like helping to set a table or to fold clothes warm from the dryer? This could be an indication that your tot is ready to take on bigger tasks and to tackle unknown horizons. Preschool is probably a good idea.
Then again, if you notice that your child is simply not yet ready to separate from you for several hours every day, it’s okay to opt to keep them close. Kids develop at their own pace, and simply because your first child jumped into preschool with both feet and never looked back, doesn’t necessarily mean your second or third will do the same. Meet with the director of the preschool you’re considering, and have them meet with your child if you’re unsure. The three of you will figure this out best by working together.