Like most areas of this thing called life, parenting neither comes with a handbook nor directions for assembly. Instead, it throws you lemons from which to make lemonade, plenty of trial and error, and forks in the road in terms of tough decisions. And the only way that tough decisions get any easier is with the help of experience and wisdom. That’s right — you read all there is read to about parenting, learning all there is to learn by attending parenting classes, seminars, and webinars, research all you can by browsing online parenting forums, and learn from other parents as much as you can, but experience and wisdom in the form of on the job training is something only time can deliver.
So as a first time parent, or in some cases even a second or third time parent, it can be difficult to know when it’s best for your child to begin attending school. And without the experience of having determined grade school readiness at least once before, the task of doing so can be incredibly daunting, intimidating, nerve wracking and exhausting.
After all, not only are you essentially handing your child over to people you don’t know for a large portion of the day at a such a critical, delicate time in their life, but parents also feel an enormous amount of pressure to ensure their children have access to high quality education in order to set them up for a life of success. Between the two of these things, along with harsh judgements from others conflicting with your own maternal or paternal instincts, determining grade school readiness and finding the right preschool can be a difficult, confusing process — but it doesn’t have to be.
Determining grade school readiness in your child has everything to do with tuning into your maternal and paternal instincts and nothing — or little — to do with the opinions, judgements, and advice of others. That’s not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t at least consider the advice of others, especially those whom you respect and support your parenting style, but at the end of the day the decision should be based on your observations and feelings.
Out of fear, some parents may even put the decision off altogether, instead opting to keep their child out of preschool. However there are several benefits of academic preschool which have been proven time and time again thanks to clinical research studies as well as overall popular opinions among both early childhood educators and parents alike. Don’t let your child miss out on the chance for a head start in life because you were indecisive! Your child could be missing out on an enormous opportunity for emotional, mental, and intellectual growth by not attending preschool, and this could also delay their grade school readiness. So instead of focusing on your fears of sending your child to preschool, focus on the benefits!
In order to determine grade school readiness in your child, first think of how well they listen to and follow directions. This will help you figure out whether or not they’ll be able to listen to a preschool teacher or early childhood educator. While all children will misbehave or become fussy overtime, if your child often has tantrums or doesn’t normally listen to directions, keep mind that they not be ready for to attend preschool or grade school and may need therapy or a different kind of specialized instruction or education.
Also keep in mind your child’s energy levels in mind. Are they extremely high? Do they have trouble sitting or staying still for long periods of time? Do they have trouble focusing on a specific task or activity, even for a short period of time? This may be an indication that your child may not be ready for preschool. Talking to your child’s doctor about their activity levels and any concerns you may have about your child’s ability to focus is always a good idea.
Ultimately, the final decision is up to you. You know your child much better than anyone else!