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So, you’ve decided to go down the route of enrolling your child in a preschool over homeschooling. One box ticked, one major decision taken, so that should make your life easy. Does it? If you’re anything like me, you would start worrying over the next decision point – is my child really ready for preschool?
And this question is probably tougher to answer than the previous one. (As an aside, isn’t that the trickiest part of being a parent? The moment you’ve figured out one piece of the puzzle, you have the next one ready. And with some weird logic, the complexity keeps getting higher! Or is this just me?)
Anyway, I am summing up the days and nights I spent pondering over this question in a broken-down list of more questions. See if they help you:
- Is your child able to express his discomfort? Many children start speaking a little late, especially in a nuclear family, but they should still be able to express if they are unhappy about something. The ideal situation would be to have them tell you everything they did at school after coming back home. But in the real world, my child doesn’t do that even at the age of 5. So long as you are sure he can communicate with the preschool staff, you should be good.
- Is your child toilet trained, at least, partially? This becomes one of the major pain points for the preschool staff and the parents. You might still be sending them to school in diaper, but that should be more for the ‘just in case’ scenario than the actual need, in my personal opinion. Translates to more smiles for everyone – the child, the preschool staff and you!
- Are you ready to separate from the child? More often than not, the child settles down at a new place quite easily. For them, it is another venue to explore. Might not be the case with us parents, though. We are habit-forming lot, and anything that deviates from the routine makes us uncomfortable – and we say that the child might not like it! 🙂
- Is your child set in his mealtime routines, and tries a small variety of food items? This is one which all the parents of the fussy eaters will relate to. A child who will not eat much beyond his milk and mashed banana is probably not going adjust well at school, if he has to stay there beyond a couple of hours. After all, a hungry baby is a cranky baby. It’s not fair on the preschool staff too, to expect them to run after the child to feed them, as we do it at home.
There would be quite a few of the above things that your child might have just started doing. He might grow more independent once he goes out, and mingles with his friends. Whether the child is ready for preschool, however, is a question that the parents have to answer for themselves!
What other questions come to your mind for the preschool admissions? What would you put down as a criteria to help other parents determine if their child is ready for preschool? Do let us know in the comments.
This is the second part in blog series “The Preschool Pangs”. You can read the first part here. If you wish to add your own experience in the journey of enrolling you child in a preschool, or your parenting experiences, register here and write your own blog!