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When is My Child Ready for Preschool?

As a mother, teacher, author, publisher and writer, I thought I’d share some personal advice for new mommies and daddies entering the world of school. It’s a big world out there and at times it may seem a tad overwhelming especially with the helicopter moms or coach dads out there doing everything in their power to make sure their kid is the best at everything. It’s important to take a breath and remember…. kids get only one childhood. Let’s make it a great one.

*Does your child play and interact with other children?

With today’s technology and overwhelming choices, it’s my personal opinion that children will need to come to “big” school well rounded. Whether you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, children will always progress on their own time and pace. If you are working and your children are in daycare, they will be introduced daily to children, play time, sharing, conflicts and creating solutions to problems. If you are a stay at home mom, children will get a slower pace routine that sometimes revolves around that one particular child. If there are siblings, this helps to create playing, sharing, conflicts and creating solutions to problems. Play-dates can also help create these situations.

Now no one intentionally goes to day care or play dates to create conflict so they can see how their child reacts. It just happens naturally. And truly, part of the test is to see how you, the parent, reacts to the situation. Try to keep an open mind and be honest with yourself if you discover that your adorable little one just wacked someone on the head with a block. Immediately tell the parent and the child you are sorry and have your child apologize. Explain to your child that is not the proper way to play. If you feel they can continue to join the play time, let them. If not, go ahead and leave for home. No more scolding is necessary. They will get to play another day.

This little guide will help your little one ready for preschool and then ready for big school. Usually with toddlers, I liked to use the child’s age as a guide on how many friends to play with at a time. 1 year olds… 1 other child. 2 year olds.. 2 and so on. Plus too many little ones at one time is a tad overwhelming for the little ones and also the parents.

*When’s the right age for children to go to preschool?

My personal advice is to try preschool the fall after your child has turned 3. Preschool at this age in my opinion should be 2 half days a week. Now remember, every child grows physically, cognitively, and psychologically at their own rate. Remember that some children may have turned 3 a year ago in September where another may have just turned 3 in August. That’s a full year of developmental difference. Again, be honest with yourself. When your child is around others his/ her age how do they get along? Do they try to play together, are they well mannered, do they share, are they good listeners when it’s time to pick up? Also, keep toys that are brought out to a minimum. You want to make sure it’s not over whelming to pick up. Both children should help each other pick up, never just one.

*Is your child potty-trained?

This is a big one… are they potty-trained? Schools usually have their own rules about this issue, but to me, if you’re not potty-trained, you’re not ready for preschool. There of course will be accidents and that is in no way a problem. But they should be only occasionally not every few hours. Honestly, the teacher is there to teach, not to change diapers.

When a child turns 4, the child should attend preschool for 3 days a week at half a day or a little longer. There really is no need to push for more days and keep them in school all day every day. Children will have the rest of their young lives having to go to school. They might as well enjoy this precious time in their lives. Plus, this is a great time when they can be outside jumping in puddles, catching frogs, catching lightning bugs, snuggling in a chair having a story read to them, building a tent to hide in or just anything. Having the opportunity to use their imagination at their age is the best gift you could give your child. Let them get dirty. Let them get smelly. It’s ok… it will all wash off.

Speaking of washing off the dirt. Keeping your child on a routine will be such a security for them. They usually can’t tell time yet so they are always wondering what’s next? But if you keep them on a routine, this helps them feel secure. Dinner, bath, story read by mom or dad, lights out and a quiet good night. Routine is key.

*Books

Now the reason I’m here…. books. Hopefully you started reading to your little one day one home from the hospital. But if not… not to fret. There’s still lots of time to enjoy this special time. At this time, little ones enjoy stories with lively adventure, loving character’s and lots of beautiful pictures. In the library you will find a great selection called Picture Books.

They are called Picture Books because this is the time of life when the little ones generally cannot read so the beautiful pictures tell the story without needing to know the words. Usually these stories are asked to be repeated and repeated over and over until it mostly memorized. The story telling they do are their first steps into learning how to read. But right now your job as parent is to instill a love of books in your child. Computers, I pads, kindles, phones… all are great. But a book…. ahhh now there’s magic.

Hey... look! It's my first book. You can purchase through this site.

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