Most children end up going to school at some point. Some children stay at home right up until they need to start “real” school – also known as grade one. Others may be placed in a daycare center at a very young age, due to their parents having to go back to work. Generally, though, children spend most of their time at home until they reach the age of about two or three – this is where most parents start considering sending them off to a childcare center. While there is much debate happening around whether it’s best to send your child to school earlier or later, the truth is that each child and family are different. However, one thing is important: you need to make sure your child is ready for school.
How do they handle change?
As a parent, you surely know that children need routine. Any break in this routine often leads to a severe reaction from a child. This isn’t because they are naughty, it’s just because change is hard for them. However, some children struggle even more with change than others, to the point where such a sudden and severe change could seriously affect them – mentally, emotionally, and physically. Look at a few childcare centers in your area and ask them how they would help your child adjust. This may help you pick a preschool, or even help you decide whether it is the right time to be making this change. If you’re in New South Wales, you can use Toddle NSW to help you locate childcare centers in the area.
Do they have social skills?
Many children struggle with the social aspect of school, especially if they are an only child who spends most of their time with their parents. It can be hard for them to learn how to interact with children their age. If your child doesn’t have these skills, consider encouraging them to make friends with one or two children before you put them in a childcare center where they are surrounded by dozens of kids.
How attached are they to you?
This is a problem that goes hand in hand with both their ability to handle change and their social skills. If for most of their life, your child has spent the majority of their time with you, it can be incredibly difficult for them to suddenly have to navigate life alone. If you’re worried that this may cause your child some anxiety, try teaching them the independence they need to make the transition easier.
Consider why you are doing this
Some parents have a set age when they want their kids to go to school. Others may have no other choice – they have towork, so they need someone to take care of their child during the day. Sometimes, however, parents send their children off to school because they become a bit too much to handle. Unfortunately, sending them to school likely won’t solve this problem. There may be a deeper problem that you need to pay attention to. If your child does have any behavioral issues, such as tantrums, be sure to inform the school of them.