The transition from toddlerhood to attending a preschool can be a daunting one for young parents. What are 5 signs that your child is ready for preschool?
Your Child is Potty-Trained
Does your child go to the bathroom independently during the day and at night, or is she prone to “accidents” and wets herself on a regular basis? While this might be the most difficult skill for young children to master, many preschools have specific potty-training guidelines, especially for children older than four or five years of age. However, if your child is three or four and still in diapers, take the time to speak to the local preschool director. Many schools will accommodate children in diapers, and schools for children with special needs may have different requirements to accommodate children with developmental delays that affect potty-training.
Your Child Communicates
Can your child express his needs? If your child is hungry or thirsty, or has to go to the bathroom, can she speak to an adult? If your child needs help in this area, encourage your child to ask you verbally about what she needs. Simple sign language can be used for very young children or children with speech delays.
Your Child Can Focus
Speak with your child’s future teacher about the daily schedule. Are there activities, like reading or writing, that are incorporated into the curriculum that require focus and concentration? You can help your child transition to preschool by preparing her for activities that require concentration like coloring a picture book or listening to a storybook
Your Child Sits for Activities
Will they be able to sit through music time or a story? How long do the children sit at a single activity? Is there room for running around and play? Do the children have recess? While a period of adjustment from free play at home to a more structured school day is to be expected, some children may need extra time to sit through preschool.
Your Child is Emotionally Prepared
This may be the most important of the 5 signs that your child is ready for preschool. If your child cries when she says goodbye, that is normal. However, if you find that leaving your child at preschool results in anxiety or your child cannot be consoled, you may need to work on developing age-appropriate coping skills with your child. Reassure her that you will pick her up at a specific time of day, and that the caregivers at the preschool care about her and are there to help her. Visiting the preschool classroom before the first day of school and discussing some of the fun activities of the day will help make the transition pleasant and reduce anxiety.
If you have concerns, express them to the preschool director. The director will have helpful advice to prepare your child for preschool.