When Should Your Child Start School?
Many parents struggle with determining the appropriate age for their child to start their educational journey. Determining whether a child is ready for school or not is a big decision, especially between the ages of 3 and 5.
While there’s no compulsory school age, most states require children to be at least five years old by late summer to start schooling. If your child’s birthdate falls around the cut-off date, it might require them to start school as a 4-year-old or a newly turned 5-year-old. Children born after the cut-off may start school at six years. This awkward cutoff might leave you confused about what to do.
Luckily, some crucial indicators can help you decide if your child is ready for the transition. This post delves into basic yet essential questions you should ask yourself to help you decide. In the end, if you still feel your child isn’t ready, you shouldn’t rush the decision. Remember that all children develop at different paces, and there’s no need to rush them. Here are some questions to reflect on:
Does Your Child Follow Instructions?
While preschool doesn’t usually have strict rules for kids, your child could follow simple instructions by the time you enroll them in preschool. Teachers will expect them to follow snack time guidelines, clean up, walk-in line with their peers, and other small tasks.
If you feel your child has yet to learn how to follow instructions, you may want to start giving them easy tasks to do independently. For example, you can ask them to help with setting the dinner table or bringing in the mail. This routine will allow them to work on completing routine tasks, helping them in school.
Can Your Child Handle Transitions?
Schools have an established schedule they operate on, for example, moving from snack time to playtime. Schools expect that children can transition from one activity to another smoothly. If your child isn’t good at transitioning quickly, you might need to work on these skills before enrolling them in school. Learning to leave one activity and get engaged in another is a skill every child needs to learn before joining kindergarten.
Can Your Child Separate from You?
If your child is used to spending the day at home with you, they can develop separation anxiety when they start going to school. If your child gets upset when you leave them, you might need to spend some time training them to overcome their separation anxiety. The best way to achieve this is to leave the child in the care of a trusted friend or family member for short periods.
Use that time to run to the grocery store or take a quick walk within the neighborhood. The aim is to teach your child to separate from you and trust you’ll come back. This way, dropping them off at school won’t be filled with panic. Initially, they may be apprehensive about you leaving them behind, but their worry should subside with time.
How Well Do They Interact with Other Kids?
Consider how well your school-age child interacts with other children. If they have been around other children frequently, for example, in the neighborhood or church, you know how they might respond in school.
Learning social skills is crucial for preschoolers. However, if your child hasn’t interacted much with their age mates, preschool provides an opportunity to do so. Arrange for playdates or sign your child up for social activities for children.
The right age to enroll your child will depend on various factors, including their ability to interact with other kids, follow instructions, and communicate. If you’d like to know more about preparing your child for school, Casa de Corazón can assist with the process. We provide immersion child care for your child’s first educational experience to prepare them for their future endeavors inside and outside the school setting. Contact us today to learn more or request a tour of our facility.