Determining the best age for the pearl of your eye is quite crucial and hence, needs lots of thought and consideration on parent’s part. While most preschools start the enrolment for the children in the age group from 3 years to 4 years old, there is no predefined best age as there are other factors apart from children’s age which determines the appropriate age to start preschool for your kid.
At What Age Should The Child be Sent to Preschool?
Every parent faces the confusion of deciding the right age for preschool for their children. It is absolutely normal since as a parent you always want to give the best to your child. Majority of preschools will allow children of at least 2 and half years of age to attend but this practice ipso facto, does not indicate that every child can attend preschool as soon as they reach this age. We all want a quick answer to this universal issue faced by every parent at some point in their life. However, there’s a need to understand that age is not the only factor which determines the right age for preschool. Every child grows differently not only physically but also socially and emotionally. Hence, all factors should be considered carefully.
Is Your Kid Ready for Preschool?
Commuting to preschool will translate to spending a couple of hours away from you. In other words, certain basic self-care is required on your kid’s part since you won’t be there to help your kid with his/her usual routine, such as washing hands after playing, drinking water, sleeping alone.
You will have to check whether your kid is ready for preschool on all the fronts discussed above. He or she might be physically and emotionally ready but might not have developed social skills yet. Commuting to preschool would mean interacting with other kids as well. Below are few points which will help you decide whether your kid is ready for preschool.
- Basic Self-Reliant Skills: A little self-reliance is expected from your kid when once they start attending preschool. For example, you have to observe whether your kid can carry out basic skills on their own such as eating, drinking, using the toilet, sleeping alone, etc.
- Comfortable With Other People Alone: Often kids, at a young age, do not feel comfortable in the absence of their parents, partially because you had always been there with them. For example, if you have a babysitter who looks after your kid then it will likely not be a problem for your kid to fit in preschool for a couple of hours in your absence.
- Group Activities: Preschool has a lot of group activities, wherein all kids are required to participate together. Interaction with other kids, will, of course, be a good step to learn new things. However, such group activities might be little difficult for kids under 3 years of age who are mostly in high spirits and adventurous. You can start introducing them to group activities if they aren’t used to it yet.
- Physical Stamina For Preschool: A preschool is an active place, involving activities such as art and painting, field trips, playground to enjoy, etc., which means moving around a lot actively. If he or she is still not at that level yet or does not like to move from one thing to other or still loves to take frequent naps then maybe it’s not time for preschool yet.
- Keeping A Standard Schedule: Kids tend to be more comfortable with a routine and that’s why usually, preschools follow a standardized timetable: circle time, play time, snack, playground and finally lunch. If your kid does not keep the same routine then probably there is a need for you to work on before they can start their preschool.
- Solo Player: Apart from group activities, preschool also has numerous individual tasks involving arts and crafts, which require a good focus and concentration power. If your kid likes to enjoy working on his own on puzzles or drawing at home, then it’s a good sign that he or she won’t have any difficulty at preschool either.
- Health Condition: Another factor which should be considered is your child’s health condition. Before you decide to send them to preschool, take a moment and think whether he or she is sensitive to infection or prone to get sick easily. If you kid is vulnerable to infections such as ear infections or bronchitis, then it is better not to start their preschool just yet.
Is Preschool Really Necessary for Children?
Even if your kid is ready for preschool, you should first give a long thought whether he or she really needs a preschool. What’s your motivation behind sending him or her to a preschool? Is it because you just want time for yourself? It might seem to be a viable option where both parents are working and a day care becomes necessary. However, if you just need time for yourself or preparing him or her for kindergarten, then there are alternatives available such as hiring a babysitter.
Benefits of Preschool For Kids
Preschool serves as a starting point to develop academic and social skills which will later be useful for your kids. Given below are few benefits of preschool.
- Helps In Social And Emotional Development: To learn a child seeks good and warm care from their teacher. Building trust with people other than parents is a big step for a kid under 3 years old. A warm and cared environment created by the teacher will strengthen social skills in kids.
- Learn To Make A Choice: At preschool kids get the choice to choose from a number of activities they are interested in. It develops a sense of self-reliance and also enables them to make their own choice which is a useful skill to have.
- Learn To Be Independent: There are a number of basic activities you do for them at home but at preschool they do those things (eating, sleeping, washing hands, etc.) on their own which makes them independent and it’s again a very good habit to develop.
- Helps To Acquire Language Skills: Preschool helps in the development of language skills. They are surrounded by an environment rich in language, singing songs, reading books, story-telling, etc., all these activities helps them improve their communication and language skills.
- Prepares Them For Kindergarten: A preschool is a fun place which balances play time and academic learning to an extent. Kindergarten gets more academic, and needs a child to concentrate. Preschool helps your kid learn to focus through activities like circle time, story-telling, book reading, etc.
There are several benefits to preschool, and it does add some fun to your child’s development. But it is recommended that you consider all the factors mentioned to determine whether your kid is really ready for preschool or not, as age alone is not the key to decide the right age for preschool.
Also read: Growth Spurts In Toddlers & Children