How Do I Know If My Child Is Ready for Preschool?

Reviewed on 6/24/2021

Preschool can be exciting for some kids, whereas traumatizing for others. You know your child is ready for preschool if they are potty-trained, independent, expressive, can concentrate, is emotionally ready and has stamina.
Preschool can be exciting for some kids, whereas traumatizing for others. You know your child is ready for preschool if they are potty-trained, independent, expressive, can concentrate, is emotionally ready and has stamina.

Preschool can be exciting for some kids, whereas traumatizing for others. Your kid may or may not be ready for preschool, depending on their developmental timelines. However, there are few areas that you can look at to see if your child is ready for a new experience. Some of them include

If your child is potty-trained: It is not a mandatory requirement for all preschools. However, some preschools expect kids to be out of diapers.

If your child is independent: No one expects your child to be completely independent. They do not have to solve problems all by themselves. However, a little independence is important. Before starting preschool, your child should play games or do projects with other kids for a short period without constant instructions from an adult.

If your child is expressive: Your child must know to express themselves in a way that a stranger can understand. Be it with short sentences, sign language or gestures—kids should know to communicate their immediate needs. However, no one expects your child to speak in full sentences. Expressive kids can understand what other people say. However, they might not yet follow directions with multiple instructions.

If your child can concentrate for some time: To be able to go to preschool, the ability to concentrate is crucial. If not for long hours, most preschoolers should pay attention for 10 to 20 minutes. In preschool, kids need to follow directions most of the time and follow tasks without getting excessively distracted.

If your child is emotionally ready: Before considering kids to be emotionally ready, there are a few things to consider that include

  • Their ability to stay away from parents or caregivers without much anxiety
  • Their eagerness to go to school
  • Their interest to make friends

Kids who cry the entire day might not be ready for a full time preschool program.

If your child has stamina: Kids need to have a lot of physical and mental energy for preschool. Preschool would be hard for kids who feel it is difficult to follow a routine and be engaged for many hours together. One way to know if your child has stamina is to look at their nap schedule. If they still take long morning and afternoon naps, they are probably not ready for preschool. You can help your child by merging their morning and afternoon naps into one long afternoon nap.

What are the pros and cons of preschool?

Preschool can be traumatizing or exciting for kids based on their physical and emotional maturity. Studies have reported that children who began early education had the following advantages.

  • They would excel in academics and are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college.
  • They were healthier and wealthier than their peers.
  • They are better prepared to succeed.
  • They have excellent language skills.
  • They get along with other kids.
  • They have a broader knowledge base.

Preschool can be hectic for children who aren’t ready to be separated from their parents. Your child may have anxiety if they aren’t toilet-trained. For some kids, the preschool experience can be overwhelming because of music, laughing and transitioning from one thing to another. These kids may be uncomfortable with the environment existing in preschool. Never force your child to attend preschool if they are not ready for preschool.

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References
WebMD: "Is My Child Ready for Preschool?" https://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/my-child-ready-preschool#1

Understood: "How to Know if Your Child Is Ready for Preschool." https://www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/signs-symptoms/academic-readiness/how-to-know-if-your-child-is-ready-for-preschool

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