Most preschools accept children at the age of 2.5 or 3. However, since every child is different, there is no fixed age to start preschool. It is understood that age is an important factor in deciding when to send your child to preschool but that’s not all. There are several developmental factors involved as well which need to be considered. You need to ensure that your child is physically, emotionally, and even socially ready to start preschool.
So before you consider enrolling your little one into preschool, take a look at the following factors:
Your child may know all the colors and shapes but that is not enough. Is your child mentally and emotionally prepared to be separated from you for the day? This is a major challenge that you as well as your child will have to face together, and if your child is not ready to be apart from you yet, it may not be the right time for preschool.
It is essential for your child to interact with other children in order to adjust to the idea of going to school. Social skills are very important because they provide the experience of being with other children which makes the transition easier. If your child is not comfortable being around other people then you might want to wait till the age of 3.5 or 4.
Growth and Development
Is your child familiar with classroom materials? Can your child handle being at the playground with other children? Preschools fine-tune these skills but your child should have some knowledge of classroom rules and what they can expect prior to joining. Most children feel overwhelmed and scared the first day usually because they don’t know what’s going on. Parents should counsel their children beforehand in order to help them understand the purpose of going to school. If your child seems eager and excited to go to school even at the age of 2, that’s fine as well.
It is important to ensure that your child can communicate with the teacher as well as other children. This is necessary because children need to speak up and ask for help when they need it. If your 2-year old cannot form words correctly and you are not able to understand them, then your child is not ready for preschool yet.
Children between the ages of 2 to 3 years need at least 2-hour nap during the afternoon. Preschools usually have nap times but it is not necessary that your child will sleep better or even sleep at all at a preschool. This is because most children are used to sleeping at home in their own bedrooms. So if you feel that your child cannot sleep comfortably elsewhere, then you might want to wait on preschool.
Most parents think that they should enroll their child in preschool as soon as possible. This notion should not be encouraged. Starting preschool should be a positive and happy experience for a child. There is no harm in waiting until your child is a little bit older (up to 4 years). The whole transition can be very overwhelming and there is no need to add more anxiety by forcefully making your child start preschool.