It feels like only yesterday when you brought your bundle of joy home with you from the hospital. And yet, here they are talking, walking, and showing their personality more and more every day.
Their next milestone will be going to preschool. But when should kids start preschool? This can be a big step for children so it’s important to get your timing right.
Keep reading to learn all about the factors you’ll need to consider before sending your child to preschool.
When Should Kids Start Preschool?
There is no set preschool age in the US, although the CDC uses the term “preschoolers” for children aged between three and five years old.
Most preschool programs set a minimum age for the kids they’ll accept. Usually, kids have to be three years old by the December of the academic year. Although, some preschools will accept children as young as two.
Factors That Determine Preschool Readiness
Age is only one of the many factors you’ll need to take into account before deciding if your child is ready for preschool. Other key considerations are:
Some preschool programs will only accept potty-trained children, or at least well on their way. Preschoolers will also need to have some grasp of age-appropriate self-care basics. For example, they should know how to put their shoes and coat on and should be able to wash their hands and blow their nose.
Your child should also know how to follow simple instructions before starting preschool. Although preschool programs aren’t super strict, they do encourage children to get into groups, work together, and complete simple tasks like tidying away toys and books. To prepare your child for these simple instructions, give them easy tasks to do at home such as setting the table or getting the mail.
Speaking and Listening
Preschool allows children to develop their language skills, as well as social skills, independence, and more. But they’ll need to be able to communicate to some extent before they’re ready to reap these benefits of preschool.
This means that your child should be able to hear and understand others and speak in a way that others understand. And, while they may not have a vast vocabulary, they should be able to say phrases of up to five words.
Separation and Interaction
Preschool drop-offs can be emotional, although children who’ve attended daycare will usually settle quickly. Children who are used to always being with one parent can, however, take more time.
With this in mind, it’s wise to start transitioning into periods of separation by leaving your child with a friend or family member beforehand. And, if they’re around other kids when they’re away from you, even better. This will help get them ready for the social interaction of preschool while responding well to kids their own age is a key sign of playschool readiness.
Recognizing When Your Child Is Ready for Preschool
While some kids may show preschool readiness well before their third birthday, others may need a little more time. As such, the most appropriate answer to the question, “when should kids start preschool?” is, when they’re ready!
But, with this guide to help you, it should be a lot easier to recognize exactly when that is for your particular child.
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