Fall is right around the corner, which means many parents and guardians will be readying themselves and their children to head off to daycare, preschool, or another childcare arrangements. While finding the right preschool for your family can be a challenge in itself, it can also be difficult to know whether your child is actually ready to start preschool. While the percentage of three- and four-year-olds enrolled in preprimary programs increased by 9% and 12%, respectively, between 1990 and 2013, that doesn’t always mean it’s easy to know whether it’s the right time to enroll. Our quiz can help you recognize the skills your child possesses and help you decide whether this year will be the year for preschool.
How does your child react when they’re away from you?
A. They’re comfortable right away and never know I’m gone.
B. They’re upset at first, but readjust within 10 or 15 minutes.
C. They’re inconsolable until I come back to pick them up.
How well does your child listen and follow instructions?
A. They do this very well.
B. They do this sometimes or most of the time.
C. They do not do this well.
How would you describe your child’s level of potty training?
A. They are totally potty-trained.
B. They are well on their way to being potty-trained, but have the occasional accident.
C. They are not yet potty-trained and have frequent accidents.
How often does your child socialize with other kids?
A. They play with other kids frequently without incident.
B. They occasionally play with other kids but may need to work on their social skills.
C. They barely play with other children or exhibit frequent behavioral issues when they do.
Does your child know how to share, take turns, and cooperate with others?
A. Yes, and they do this often, even without prompting.
B. Yes, but they sometimes need reminding.
C. No, this is a lesson we have to review often or they are resistant to do so.
Can your child clearly communicate their needs and recite your information?
A. Yes, they can express their basic needs and they know our address, phone number, and names.
B. Yes, they can usually express their basic needs and they know at least some contact information.
C. No, they struggle to communicate these needs.
If you answered mostly As: Your child is very likely ready for daycare or preschool. Of course, you should still do your research on specific academic preschool programs before enrolling your child. Inquire with teachers to find out their requirements and whether your child’s abilities would make them a good fit.
If you answered mostly Bs: Your child may be ready to take on those preschool education activities — if not this year, then definitely next year. There may be some key areas you’ll need to consider working on at home in the meantime, like more socialization, communication, or potty training. Ultimately, you’re going to be the best judge of whether your child is ready, but it won’t hurt to talk to staff members and get a second opinion.
If you answered mostly Cs: This year may not be the year for preschool. And that’s okay! Your child might simply benefit from more time to learn these skills. Talk with preschool teachers or daycare staff members in your area and zero in on which skills are typically the most important. Usually, the ability to follow directions and social skills are highly valued. Take some time to develop these on your own and through peer interaction before signing them up for class.
Figuring out whether your child will fare well in daycare or preschool isn’t an easy task, but these important questions can illuminate the skills your child has already acquired and the areas they may need to work on before being placed in a totally new environment. And as always, your preschool of choice will be a valuable source of information that can help you make the right decision for your family.