10 Signs Your Toddler Is Ready for Preschool
Just yesterday you were bringing Baby home from the hospital, and now you’re pondering preschool? Here’s how to tell if she’s ready to make this monumental step.
Follows a Regular Routine
Preschool schedules often follow fairly typical routines day in and day out, so your child should be used to following one at home as well. If he is happy knowing that snack time comes after playtime each day, or that a trip to the playground happens after story hour, he’s ready to adhere to a class schedule.
In order to start preschool, it’s important for a child to be able to do some of the basics on her own — like eat snack or lunch without the help of an adult and play independently, among other things. If she can “create her own fun” in a way, then it could be a sign she’s ready to make the jump.
Enjoys Other Kids
For so long babies and even young toddlers simply play next to each other, rather than with each other. They take take a toy from one another or offer one back, but generally that’s the extent of their interaction for a while. When you notice your child is genuinely socializing with other children, like working jointly to piece together a puzzle, it’s a step in the right direction towards preschool.
Teachers will give students simple instructions to complete an activity, so it’s helpful if the toddler already has a grasp of this concept. If not, it could lead to frustration and then anger because the child doesn’t understand what he’s doing wrong by not doing as the teacher says.
Naps in the Afternoon
It’s a good bet that your child’s preschool teacher will schedule naptime for after lunch, which means she’ll have to have the energy to keep up with her peers until the afternoon. Pushing back your child’s nap is something that you can do gradually at home so that they are ready once school starts, but if they’re already there, even better!
Perhaps recently you’ve noticed that your kiddo has been more apt to take turns with others, share toys, or at least sort of patiently wait in line for an activity he’s really interested in. These are signs that he is learning how to cooperate and play well with others, which will suit him well in preschool.
Shows Signs of Emotional Maturity
Look for signs of emotional maturity in your toddler ranging from self-awareness and better awareness of those around her to the ability to better manage her moods to being motivated to achieve something she wants. These characteristics build slowly and certainly may not all be visible by the start of preschool, but noticing these small steps are clues that she could be better prepared for one the next big milestones in her life.
It wasn’t long ago that crawling was your little pumpkin’s only way to get from one spot to the next, so once walking became an option it was time to explore, explore, explore! That desire to explore makes it very difficult for young toddlers to stay focused on one activity, like circle time in a play class or story hour in a group setting. Once your child is able to concentrate on one activity for a distinct period of time, she’s on her way to being ready for group activities at preschool.
Is Potty Trained
This can be a deal breaker in some preschools. There are some institutions that mandate a child be potty trained before they are allowed to enter into preschool. You’ll definitely want to read up on the school that you’re most interested in and find out if it’s a requirement.
Spends Regular Time Apart From You
Naturally, kids who are used to spending time away from mom and dad — either at daycare, with a nanny or babysitter or with other family members — are most likely going to be able to transition to preschool days a bit easier than those who are used to being with a parent all of the time. Of course, this doesn’t mean that a child with a stay-at-home parent can’t handle going off to school, it simply may need to be a gradual adjustment.