It’s that time of the year again-for some parent it’s “the most wonderful” time of the year! You’ve been talking about it all summer with your child, to family and friends, but will your child be ready to head off on her own, even for a few hours each day? Here are some questions from Parenting.com, to help make sure she’s all set when September rolls around:
Is she potty trained? Some preschools not affiliated with daycare centers require it. If yours doesn’t and your tot has almost mastered the toilet, she’s probably good to go.
Has she spent time away from you? Kids who go to daycare or have a regular sitter while you work outside your home often take to preschool without a backward glance. But if your child has been home with you since birth, start introducing her to the idea of being separated from you now by leaving her with your mom while you shop, for instance. Most schools build in a few shorter transitional days during the first week or so.
Can she take instructions? Preschool isn’t as structured as kindergarten, but your child will be expected to follow simple rules, such as straightening the play area and hanging her coat in a closet. If you think this might be tough for her, start making her responsible for some of her daily routines, such as leaving her shoes by the front door or putting dirty dishes in the sink.
Does she interact well with other children? If your child’s used to being around other kids and has at least a dim awareness of concepts like sharing, she should be fine at preschool. If not, sign her up for a playgroup before she starts so she can “practice.”
Is she comfortable switching gears? Take a look at how your child reacts when it’s time to stop one activity and start another, as she’ll have to do with relative ease at school. Does she throw a fit when she needs to put away the dolls for naptime? Giving her advance notice might help her learn to handle transitions a little better (“After you dress that doll, it’ll be time to rest.”).
If you’re worried that she’s not ready, it’s okay to start her next semester or even hold off another year. Some children are ready to go as early as 2 years old, others are fine to wait until they are 4½ or even skip straight to kindergarten. The transition will go fine either way, as long as you know whether or not your child is ready-whether it’s this year or next.
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