So your little one is getting older and you’re trying to discover if he or she is ready to start preschool. Making the decision to put your child in preschool is a big decision that as a parent should not be taken lightly. While all children will eventually partake in some form of schooling, it is important for the child that you don’t rush or force the process if you don’t have to. Forcing your child to take on such a new environment after being home or with a close relative can be traumatic for the child and stressful for you. There are some guidelines that parents can follow to decide if their child truly is ready for preschool.

Of course when enrolling your child in preschool there are rules and regulations. Often schools have an age requirement in which the children must meet. Typically that rule is that your child must be three years old by October of the year in which you are trying to enroll them. If they are younger than this it may be a good idea to keep them home an extra year.

Most preschools have a requirement that your child is potty trained or very close to it at the start of the school year. This is important as many teachers do not change diapers at this age. They should also have a bit of understanding when it comes to self care such as putting on coat or shoes, washing hands, and fastening pants after using the restroom. If your child is not fully prepared for this, you may need to keep them home.

While preschools don’t have a lot of in classroom rules it is important for your child to understand basic directions. Certain directions given may be to clean up a play area or line up with your classmates. If your child does not follow instructions they may not be ready for school just yet.

Every child begins to speak and form sentences at their own pace. A typical three year old is not expected to be an Einstein with perfect grammar, but it is important that your child’s teacher be able to understand what your child is saying. This is especially important for teachers to give your child the best care possible.

Preschools are all about schedules. In order to keep multiple children entertained and under control there is a set schedule that usually becomes routine in the classroom. It is important to find out if your child will transition into the schedule well without much fuss.

Obviously children who have been with mom or dad the entire time will have a hard time being away from you for any portion of the day. If your child has temper tantrums or emotional breakdowns when you leave them, they may need more time to adjust.

Last but not least is your child’s social interaction. There will be lots of other children there in which they will have to interact with on the daily basis. If your child is an only child or has a much older sibling they may have problems sharing or communicating with other children. It is important to make sure they get along well with others before entering a classroom setting.

There will always be bumps in the road. Transitioning from a being home or with a babysitter to going to preschool will be tough in the beginning. Helping your child through this change is vital as their parent. Take your time in making the decision on whether or not your child is ready for school.