How to Tell if Your Child is Ready for Preschool

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Experts recommend that you use the following guidelines to determine your child’s readiness for preschool:

  • Your child is potty-trained.
    Although not all preschool programs, especially 3K programs, require that your child is fully potty-trained before beginning preschool, most child development experts believe it is best that your child can go to the bathroom independently before beginning their early childhood education. Although some disagree, arguing that the other kids in the class who are already toilet-trained will provide both an example and an incentive for your child to follow suit, the majority feel that the potential embarrassment your little one might feel being one of the only children still in diapers may outweigh any potential benefits of hurrying along the process.
  • Your child is interested in playing with other kids.
    Socialization is a big part of what preschool is all about. One of the primary reasons you are likely interested in enrolling your child in a 3k or 4k program is the potential social benefits he or she will reap from the experience. Don’t expect miracles, however. If your child shows little or no interest in interacting with other children, then you may wish to delay enrollment until your little one begins showing signs of social readiness. Although preschool can certainly facilitate the development of social skills, it’s helpful if the initial interest is already in place before your child enters the classroom. Otherwise, your youngster may feel overwhelmed and anxious, feelings which may cause him to withdraw even more.
  • Your child doesn’t mind being away from you.
    Separation anxiety is a big impediment for many children entering preschool. Although some initial anxiety is to be expected, being away from a parent or caregiver for extended periods of time before the child is ready can be potentially and unnecessarily traumatic. So, how do you know whether the anxiety your child will feel will be tolerable or overwhelming? Reflect on past experiences involving leaving your child with a grandparent or babysitter for short periods of time, and think about how your child reacted to such an experience. If your little one still cries inconsolably and clings to you when you leave, then he or she may not be ready for preschool yet. You may want to incrementally increase the amount of time your child is away from you until the experience becomes more tolerable.

Another important determination you need to make when deciding if it’s the right time for preschool is whether or not you’re ready for the experience. Many parents experience as much, if not more, separation anxiety than their children do. If you’re not ready for your child to go to preschool, then your feelings will no doubt affect your youngster’s readiness as well. Your child will likely pick up on any anxieties you have, and may begin feeling uncomfortable about the idea as well. If you feel confident about the prospect of preschool, however, and express excitement and optimism about the experience, then your child is apt to mimic these positive feelings as well.

{ MORE: Curious About Growth Mindset for Your Kids? Try This. }

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How to Tell if Your Child is Ready for Preschool

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10 comments

  1. mommy nhoj says:

    I agree. My nephew was 3 when he first attended nursery school. At 5 years old he was accepted at Grade 1 🙂
    i wonder if I would be ready soon to let my baby away from me. Anywy, she’s just 11 months and love solitary play

  2. Marilyn says:

    My brother is 4 and I don’t think he’s ready :/

  3. EbyMom says:

    It is good to note the above points for getting my boy ready for preschool.

  4. ChrisS says:

    I remember the first time I took my son to school, he was very shy then half an hour later he got a hang on interacting with other kids of his age. He was the young child in his class since he just turn 2 years old. The third day he was at school he finally realize what was going on. His second week till the beginning of fourth week in school, he was crying. He doesn’t want to be left behind, he wants his mommy to be with him the whole time. I felt this urge of taking him back with me and let him go back to school at age of 4. But I had no choice. Later on he got use to it. Though I still have this feeling of not letting him go.

  5. tammy says:

    My son is 4.. just started his 2nd year in pre-k.. he loves it!

  6. Grace says:

    and when you would like to put them in but do not have the money too?

  7. SammysMOMMY says:

    As an educator, I find that children need this social experience to prepare them for elementary school!

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