Baby Girl is 3 now and technically old enough to attend pre-school. I recently found out she can take the bus to OR from the school. Pardon? First, I’m not ready for my baby to grow up and second, she seems far too little to put on the bus and wave goodbye, regardless of the reassurance I’ve been given by the school system. Maybe that’s just me being a little over-protective. Either way, I have recognized signs that Baby Girl is ready for less ME and more of the big world out there of little classmates, backpacks and reading circles.
Signs Your Toddler is ready for Preschool
- Routine – Since birth your child has been on some sort of routine, more regular as she grows older. The classroom is run by some sort of structured schedule; your child can expect story or snack time at certain times throughout their day, much like home. If your child knows to expect quiet time before their nap or a snack after their morning play period, your little one is likely ready for preschool.
- Independence – Sharing and interaction are big learning focuses of preschool but your child should already be practicing some of these independent skills before being expected to participate in this kind of team focused surrounding. If your child isn’t independently ready, don’t let it keep you from registering her for preschool; many schools require you to register months ahead which allows you to start teaching your child these skills.
- Potty Trained – For the most part your child should be potty trained or on her way. She may have the odd accident at home or have trouble at night time but during daytime hours should be able to use the washroom with little to no help. Check with your child’s preschool, these days most allow for use of pull-ups or help the children to the bathroom or when accidents occur but for some preschools, it’s a deal-breaker.
- Emotional Maturity – Can your child handle being away from you? Most children that already attend regular daycare will have no problems transition to preschool but those kids who stay home for the most part with one parent may have to have time to adjust.
- Focus – Your child will need to focus on little tasks instructed by the teacher, such as sitting in a circle for reading time. If she can focus on a task for a few minutes at a time on her own, she may be ready.
- Napping – Most 3 & 4 year old children still have a mid-day nap. Depending on the preschool program, you may need to push back the child’s nap or if you are considering a full-day program where napping is part of the program and your child does not nap, you will need to get her adjusted to enjoying daily quiet time.
- Parental Motivation – Whether you are a two-parent working family or you have one parent home with the children, you have to consider your motivation for an early start to school. Attending school opens your child up to more illness exposure, much like daycare vs home settings, however the benefits of learning and interaction may very well outweigh the chance of illness.
There are many benefits to registering your toddler for preschool when she or he is showing signs of readiness. Not only are socializing and interaction beneficial, we are teaching our kids that learning can be fun from an early age.
Will your little one be heading off to school this fall?