"Wasn't I just bringing them home from the hospital a few weeks ago?"
Time flies when you're raising your children and before you know it, they have reached "preschool age". But what is the right age for preschool? Hullabaloo Academy offers a two year old, two day program but some locations offer a program for children as young as 18 months, and some preschools require your child to be at least 3 before entering their programs. The important thing to keep in mind is that your child is an individual, with their own maturity level and their own personality traits. Equally important is your parenting style, which no doubt is as unique and individualized as your child's personality!
There's no easy answer to knowing whether your child is ready or not, but we've compiled a brief list to help you determine if your child would benefit from starting "school" or waiting another year or two.
Are they EMOTIONALLY ready?
Two year olds are FULL of emotion. Most days you may feel as if you are on an emotional roller coaster, other days you may wonder if you've encountered a scene from The Exorcist. Once your sweet, angelic, cooing baby, they have turned into a demanding, whining, temper-tantrum-throwing imp. On the flip side, their smiles and laughter are sweeter than honey and the joy that comes from watching them discover new feats and accomplishments is truly life-giving.
How did we describe your situation to the "t"? It's because two and three year olds all have this trait in common. Often times they are unable to adequately communicate their wants and their needs due to limited vocabulary. Can you imagine how frustrating that must be? Top that fact with their inability to foresee consequences and it's a recipe for disaster.
You may wonder if anyone else in the world would be as patient and loving to your child since there are days they are driving YOU, absolutely batty. The answer is "yes". Preschool not only exposes your child to other tiny humans learning to channel their emotions, but also loving adults who are able to have more patience because they are able to detach themselves at the end of the three hour period.
Separation anxiety is real and often times it hits at the age of two or three. Crying at drop off at this age is likely. Eventually, the hard drop-offs will become less frequent as your child begins to recognize you ALWAYS return for them. However, if crying is inconsolable for more than the transition period of drop-off, perhaps your child isn't ready yet for preschool.
Perhaps you are considering delaying preschool because your child isn't yet speaking full sentences, or he is hard to understand. Oration is not a requirement for preschool. As long as your child is able to express themselves using gestures, sign language, motions, etc they are ready to be in a social setting with other children. In fact, hearing other children their age use their words may encourage your child to test the waters a bit more with their vocabulary!
Generally by the age of two, most children have given up their morning nap and extended their waking hours through lunch time. However, if you child still can't make it through lunch time without falling asleep they might not be ready for a 3 hour morning program. Keeping them active and alert during those hours may cause them to be cranky and frustrated.
Are YOU Ready?
Mama, this is your baby and they are only this age for a short time. We understand that. It's up to you to weigh the positives preschool offers (socialization, praise and encouragement from others, preparedness for Kindergarten, etc) with any emotions you may feel for leaving your child for a few hours each day.
At Hullabaloo, we understand this and we honor this. Our mission is to partner with you to raise healthy, happy children because we believe in the power of community.
As a supportive community, we would love to hear from you! Have you enrolled your child in preschool? What was the outcome? What would you have done different?