How old is your toddler this year? Is he starting preschool soon? How old do you think should a toddler be when starting preschool?
You better prepare for the inevitable, Mama!
Summer is almost over and school is just around the corner!
“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.”
~ Ignacio Estrada
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What Age should a Toddler go to Preschool
Though your toddler’s age is not the be-all and end-all for his readiness to go to school, preschool programs’ age acceptance differs.
In general, children from age 2.5 to 5 years old can be enrolled in preschool considering…
Related article about toddlers: Easy Tips to Prepare your Toddler for His First Dentist Visit
Starting Preschool: How to Know if your Toddler is Ready
There are several factors to know your child’s readiness for preschool and here are some of them:
You have at least two questions to ask yourself about your child’s physical readiness before considering to enroll your toddler to preschool:
- Do you think that he has the fine and gross motor skills to handle the simple things like holding a crayon or climbing up and down a staircase? (and)
- Is your toddler potty-trained?
You can’t really expect your young child to perfect some of these said tasks.
However, preschool teachers are a blessing. They will show your child different tactics that will aid him into mastering things on his own the right way.
While holding a pencil or a crayon is challenging for a toddler, practice does make perfect. (A little mistake here and there won’t impact the process.)
Potty training on the other hand? Oh joy!
It is a requirement for most schools that your child be potty-trained.
If your toddler is not fully trained, it is important that he should be well on his way to be potty-trained.
Honestly, my little boy was still having a few accidents when I signed him up in his third week of potty training, but the teacher knew him too well and was okay with helping out.
Related article about toddlers: 5 Home Remedies to Constipation in Toddlers
Imagine yourself being in an unfamiliar territory. How would you feel?
A toddler is no different.
Like you, every new experience for him can be overwhelming.
Starting school for the very first time is a new experience and it can definitely trigger different kinds of emotion without question.
Irritation, anxiety, enthusiasm, and even confusion are just a few of the emotions your toddler can be feeling during this huge transition in his life.
Show him how to deal with the big transition by voicing out how you exactly feel.
Teach him how to express his emotions by labeling your own emotions.
Let him develop a greater understanding of the meaning of the words attached to each emotion.
In fact, according to the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning, children that have the ability to recognize their emotions can take frustrations and disagreements better. They are also more focused so they tend to do good academically altogether.
Additionally, you need to ask yourself these questions:
“Has my toddler been away from me?“
“Does he have separation anxiety?“
“Will he be fine being away from home for a few hours a day?“
“Does your toddler do good around people?“
“Does interacting with others seem so effortless for him?”
If yes, you need not worry. He will be fine.
Though some children are natural social butterflies, some can be shy and anxious. Or worse, aggressive.
Please don’t be discouraged when your toddler acts this way. Preschool teachers are around to help and they are equipped with the know-how to handle such behaviors.
In the meantime, boost your toddler’s social confidence by exposing him to a friendly crowd or letting him go to a daycare every once in a while so he can play with his peers.
You can also schedule playdates for him.
What Supplies are Needed for Preschool?
Please note that SOME states don’t allow teachers to ask parents for school supplies (except if you want your kid to go to a private school).
On that note, I urge you to perform your own due diligence when confirming which state school districts are allowed and which are not.
Aside from a backpack, your child will also need the following basic supplies:
- box of crayons
- pocket folder
- glue sticks
- pair of blunt-tip scissors
- box of Kleenex
- flushable or baby wipes
- organizing caddy
Standard Preschool Schedule
A typical preschool operates around 2-4 days a week, constituting a maximum of 4 hours a day of structured and unstructured activities.
I will be showing you a typical daily routine of my little boy’s Preschool (Building Blocks Preschool in South Dakota) below. This is a 4-hour morning Preschool schedule which starts at 8 AM and ends at 12 NN:
- Arrival and Greeting
- Bathroom and Handwashing
- Circle time (including calendar, weather, songs, finger plays, story time, etc.)
- Investigation Stations (Arts and Crafts or other learning activities)
- Journal Practice (letters, numbers, writing, etc.)
- Outdoor Play
- Snacks and Clean-up
- Dramatic Play (Dress-up, Role Playing, Puppetry, etc.)
- Free Play
What your Toddler needs to Know Before Starting Preschool
Though staying organized can be a challenge for little kids, it is doable.
You can actually do several things to help him hone his organizational skills. The following are just a few of them:
- Ask your toddler to sort out clothes by color.
- Let him put his toys back in the toy box by himself.
- Instruct him to throw away his own trash.
[Add a little pizzazz to your living room despite the toy clutter with this ottoman which doubles as a toy storage bin.]
As a member of a multilingual household, my little boy is not as articulate as his unilingual peers. However, what he lacks in verbal expression, he makes up for in actions.
A lot of the three-year-olds can’t express themselves as clearly as some can.
The most effective way we can help them improve their language and communication skills is through reading to them everyday.
Trust your little one’s ability to take care of the little things like feeding himself or climbing up on the potty.
You will never know what your toddler is capable of if you do everything for him.
Starting Preschool: Toddler Preparation Activities
Let your toddler help with light house chores.
Ask him to get his little sister’s cup from the fridge or let him help with segregating the laundry.
Try your best to trust him with little tasks even when it is still too hard to.
Let your toddler practice writing by letting him trace lines, shapes, and letters.
Cliche as it sounds, practice does make perfect! And what more can be more helpful than physical workbooks?!
Sing songs with your toddler.
Singing nursery rhymes with your little one has great benefits. They can help improve your child’s auditory skills which can help him discover words and sounds.
Thus, doing great at school.
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Read to your toddler everyday.
Like singing nursery rhymes, reading has a similar effect. It can help with your toddler’s language development.
In addition, reading books about going to school can ease his transition to Preschool as well. So don’t forget to squeeze in a 30-minute reading time to your toddler’s daily schedule.
Here’s a couple of books about Preschool I recommend:
If you’re not into physical books, sign up for a free trial of the Amazon Kindle Unlimited and access millions of books for 30 days. You can always cancel anytime.
Schedule playdates with their friends.
To improve his social skills, playdates are a must.
These will also help him distinguish his own personal nature and will help him understand the true meaning of individuality.
Related article about toddlers: Indoor Toddler Activities [When It is Too Hot Outside]
Starting Preschool: Admission Requirement
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is distinctly possible that you will be required to provide a copy of your child’s vaccination records when you register him for child care and preschool.
Conclusion on Starting Preschool for Toddlers and the Preparation that comes with it
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Starting preschool is a bittersweet moment for both child and parent. Let this moment be less stressful by arming yourself with enough knowledge.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Reach out to everyone who has experienced it firsthand (like teachers and seasoned mothers).
You got this!
That’s it! I hope you find this article helpful, Mama!
Talk to you later,
This post has been reviewed by Jamie Dolezal. Jamie is a private preschool teacher with several years of teaching experience. She has taught release time and Sunday school prior to opening her own preschool called Building Blocks Preschool. She is a mom of 4 and has been a foster parent to 23 kids all-in-all.
How do you prepare your toddler for Preschool?
Your thoughts are welcome in the comment section below!