When do Kids Start Preschool?

Here we are mama. The time has come when you start contemplating when to send your little one to preschool. Where has the time gone?

It seems like yesterday they were just achieving their first milestones. Firsts like rolling over, saying “mama” for the first time, taking their first steps, exploring yummy new foods. Now you have a “big kid” wanting to do everything their selves and ready to explore the world.

But hold off on the waterworks mama. Discovering your little one is ready to “spread their wings”, so to say, is an emotional but very proud moment!

So how exactly do you know they are ready for preschool? Timing and your child’s own personal development is key. Let’s take a deeper look at the factors listed below to determine if your little one is ready to take on another important milestone.

When do Kids Start Preschool?


What age do kids typically start preschool?

Kids typically start preschool between the ages 2-3, but don’t take that number too seriously. When your child starts preschool will more properly be determined by their developmental milestones rather than their age.

Some kids start when they are 2 or 3. Other kids are more ready to start when they are 4. Every child is perfectly different!

Which preschool you choose may also have specific age and entry requirements. This will play a factor on whether your child may be able to attend preschool yet or not.

Each preschool will have their own specific requirements as well. It’s helpful to study your options and find the one that best suits your little one’s needs and abilities.


Is my child ready for preschool?

So now you ask yourself, how do I know if my child is preschool ready? Most preschools will require your child have certain basic skills before they are able to attend.

Below is a list of common preschool readiness skills to help you determine if your child is ready or not. Remember, you know your child better than anyone mama! When examining the common criteria keep in mind your child strengths, personality, and emotional and social abilities.

  • Potty trained and self-care independence

Most preschools will require your child to be potty trained before they attend preschool. Some are more lenient and are willing to help your child as they learn. Others are more strict and want them completely out of diapers and pull-ups.

Here are some great potty-training tips to help you mama!

Self- care independence may include simple tasks such as washing their hands, putting on their shoes and coats, eating without a lot of assistance, and napping on their own. If your child still requires long periods for naps such as hours that may also cause an issue. Preschool will require a higher stamina and more of a schedule to follow whereas a daycare is more laid back.

  • Communication skills

Preschoolers are not expected to be able to speak full blown sentences. However, they should ideally be able to understand what the teacher is communicating to them. The teacher will want to be able to understand what they are trying to say as well. Some experts state that preschoolers are able to speak three-to-five-word sentences.

  • Separation anxiety

A big question to consider when deciding to send your child to preschool is whether or not they are emotionally ready to be separated from you for a period of time and trust that you will return to pick them up. Most kids who have attended a daycare or babysitter setting are more emotionally stable with the idea of separating since they have done so in the past.

If your little one hasn’t spent that much time apart from you it may be a good idea to start practicing. Practice by having a friend or family member babysit from time to time while you run errands or have some you time. That way when they start preschool they aren’t filled with panic at the idea of being away from you.

Remember mama, it’s perfectly normal for drop-off time to be filled with tears even for a tot who is used to being separated from their parents. With time the apprehension and worry will subside, and the transition will get easier and easier.

  • Transitions and schedule

Preschools differ greatly from daycares as they will follow a more cohesive schedule throughout the day. Is your child able to transition easily from one task to the next? For instance, if they having fun making crafts are they able to move from craft time to nap time without a fuss?

Preschool usually follow a schedule and move from one activity to the next as a group. Such as craft time to snack time to nap time and so forth. If your little one isn’t used to a routine it will be beneficial to practice at home. That way they are able to transition smoothly to different activities in the preschool setting.

  • Social development

When considering sending your child to preschool its important to think about the amount of time they have spent socializing with other children and whether or not they engage with them in appropriate ways. Now, if your child has not spent that much time interacting with others their age there is no need to worry as preschool will give them the perfect opportunity to play and sociialize.

However, if you worry about their social engagement, you can always practice before they attend. You can do this by arranging play dates, attending events that are kid friendly, taking them to the park, or other scenarios of the like so they can get some practice.

  • Following directions

Preschoolers will be asked to follow simple instructions and perform easy tasks throughout the day. Preschool is not super strict, however your child will be expected to do what is asked of them.

Simple instructions and easy tasks can include picking up toys, cleaning up after snack, moving from one activity to the next, and others of the like. If your child struggles with following directions start practicing at home by giving them simple tasks to perform.


The Bottom Line

Although it is not mandatory your child attend a preschool, it has been proven to be extremely beneficial for children’s social skills, for learning independence and for academic development. Your child will start to develop a sense of community, start friendships, and build confidence in their independence as they move forward into kindergarten and beyond!

Not only will their social skills thrive, but they will also learn the academic building blocks that will set a solid foundation for later learning. The skills learned in a preschool setting will ensure your little one’s learning development be positive and successful in the years to come.

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