Is my child ready for preschool? This is a question many parents usually have as the school year approaches.
There is no straightforward answer to this. After all, readiness relies on many factors. Age, self-care skills, social-emotional maturity, and cognitive development all play a role in ensuring your child is ready to take the next step.
For parents, it is essential to reflect on your child’s readiness before signing them up to preschool. To help you with this task, we have listed ten guide questions you can ask yourself to know for sure.
Is My Child Ready for Preschool: 10 Questions to Ask
Can Your Child Follow Simple Instructions?
One of the signs your child is ready for preschool is their ability to understand and follow simple directions. Kids the preschool age (3–5) must be able to follow instructions of one or two steps. In preschool, establishing instructions like cleaning up and falling in line helps maintain order in the classroom.
Before school starts, spend time with your child teaching them how to follow directions. You can opt for simple tasks that they can complete every day. For example, ask them to put away their toys after playtime. As soon as they can understand basic commands, they will do well at school.
Can Your Child Communicate Their Thoughts?
Want to know how to tell if your child is ready for preschool? Pay attention to how your child speaks.
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, most children ages three and four can speak in short, simple sentences. They can also respond to who, what, and where questions and narrate something that happened in their day.
Understandably, their speech will not be perfect. But most adults should be able to comprehend what they are trying to say.
Does Your Child Have Basic Self-Care Skills?
Self-care skills are also a crucial factor to consider before sending your child to preschool. They must be able to do the simplest and most basic self-care tasks at school since you’ll be away from them. Some examples include washing hands, putting on a coat, taking off shoes, and eating meals.
Potty training is another important skill. Not all preschools require this, but it helps if your child can handle their toilet needs without asking for help from their teachers. Consider potty training your child in your bathroom or using a potty chair during the summer to practice this skill.
Can Your Child Handle Activities on Their Own?
A typical preschool setting will have a lot of activities that require your child to work by themselves. It does not mean they have to do everything on their own. But, it helps if they can perform tasks independently.
A great way to teach independence is by letting them do simple tasks without your help. Start with simple activities like washing hands or putting plates away. Doing fun arts and crafts projects at home can also help them develop this ability.
How is Your Child’s Physical Stamina?
A preschool is an energetic place with lots of activities in store for the kids. Given this, your child will need plenty of physical and mental energy for the whole day.
Some children thrive in this environment, while others may feel overwhelmed. Because of this, it helps to check the schedule beforehand and gauge if your child can keep up with it or not. Starting with a half-day program can also ease them to the liveliness of the preschool setting.
Can Your Child Focus on Tasks?
Attention span is typically shorter in children ages three and four, but it usually varies from one child to another. Luckily, preschool is the best place to sharpen your child’s focus.
Preschool activities typically last 10–20 minutes. During this time, your little one must be able to focus on a task without getting distracted. Developing their concentration even before they start preschool can maximize their overall schooling experience.
Has Your Kid Spent Time Away from You?
One of the challenging parts of preschool for a child is parting from their parents. Kids who went to daycare, a relative, or a babysitter might be used to this, but not kids who never left their parents’ care.
To help your child cope with separation anxiety, consider setting a schedule to spend some time away from home. For example, your child can stay with their grandparents during the weekends. Doing this in short periods lets them slowly adjust to being away from you.
How Does Your Child Deal with Transitions?
Most preschools have a fixed schedule with different daily activities. However, some children might find it overwhelming to move from one activity to the next if they are not used to this.
One way to help them adapt is by setting a simple routine at home. Create a board listing the order of activities for the day, such as time outdoors, snacks, reading, play, and hygiene. Make sure to provide them with cues so they will know it’s time to move to another task. Establishing a routine at home helps them get used to the rhythm of switching from one activity to the next.
How Does Your Child Interact with Peers?
Preschool is a great place for your child to socialize with same-aged kids. But even so, it pays to check how your child gets along with others before they start preschool.
Take time to observe how your kid interacts with their siblings and other children. The following guide questions can help you evaluate if they are ready to socialize in preschool:
- Can your child take turns when playing?
- Are they able to cooperate with peers during playtime?
- Can they recognize and understand what others feel?
- Are they able to resolve conflicts peacefully?
Is Your Child Emotionally Ready for Preschool?
Lastly, it’s important to gauge your child’s emotional readiness for preschool. Many kids feel nervous on their first day. But if they cry the entire day, it becomes a warning sign.
Ease their fears by preparing them emotionally. For example, you can read them stories about kids entering preschool to get them used to the idea and to assure them that everything will be okay. Additionally, here are some activities that you can try to help them get ready for their first day of preschool.
Learn the Signs Your Child Is Ready for Preschool
Preschool presents an exciting opportunity for your kids to learn and develop their skills. But first, you have to make sure your child is ready. Knowing the signs of preschool readiness can help you prepare your child for this important milestone.
Learn more tips on preparing your child for preschool in the Rayito de Sol blog.