Is Your Child Ready for School?

 I speak with parents of preschoolers all the time. 

One of the questions that I hear very frequently is, “I want to send my child to preschool.  How do I know if he (or she) is ready?”

There are several key indicators we can look at that will help us answer that question.  You need to observe your child to see:


1. How well does he/she interact with others?

If you feel your child has not had enough opportunities to interact with others then START SMALL: arrange play-dates with neighbor children of a similar age and attend library story programs.  The summer before our youngest son was going to start kindergarten, we enrolled him in a three week nature class that was held every morning at a local nature center.  He had not attended preschool or daycare and we wanted to give him a chance to be in a “classroom” setting.  This worked out very well and he adjusted to kindergarten very well.


2. Has he/she been away from you?

If your child has not been away from you at all then

START SMALL: arrange to leave your child with a trusted friend or relative for an hour or so (take a walk around the block or a bubble bath) and enroll her in a library story hour or other local program.

3. How well does he/she transition from snack to play to story to craft to quiet time?

If your child has not had any experience with this or does not transition well then

START SMALL: during the day, let your child know you will be turning off the TV at the next commercial…tell him it will be naptime after the last page of the book is finished…find opportunities during the day to have your child transition from one activity to another.

4. Can your child’s speech be understood?

Your child should be able to speak in simple sentences of three to five words and be able to describe an activity or event that recently happened.  If you think there is a problem, then speak with your pediatrician.


5. Does your child follow directions?

If your child does not seem able to follow directions then

START SMALL: give your preschooler easy tasks to do…put the plates on the

dinner table, help fold the clean towels…when cleaning up the toys, ask your child to put the blue blocks away first or tell her to pick up the book and put it on the couch.

There are two other factors that may have an impact on whether your child is ready for preschool: potty training and age.

Many preschools require students to be potty-trained or almost there.  Your preschooler should also be able to put on and take off her shoes and coat, zip up her pants and wash her hands.

Regarding age, educators define preschool as the two years before kindergarten.  The age minimum differs in preschools…some want the child to be three by December of that academic year, while others will accept two year olds.


Whatever your decision is about sending your child to preschool, spending time with your child will result in life-long benefits…building self-esteem, developing pre-literacy skills and strengthening the parent-child bond.   Visit my website or Amazon to buy a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.   This unique activity book/parenting resource/memory book will provide you with picture book summaries, easy crafts and healthful recipes…even an hour-by-hour schedule that will simplify your day.   Using Show Me How will definitely help you achieve your child’s school readiness goals.

In my next post, I’ll give some simple steps parents can take to get ready for the new school year…whether their children are toddlers or teenagers.

The Show Me How! School Initiative

Please don’t forget to leave a comment, nominating a school or other childcare facility you would like to receive a free copy of Show Me How!  We’ll be collecting nominations through the end of September…and will award a dozen books to schools across the country.  If you can spread the word via Twitter, Facebook or Pinterist, I would appreciate it.

Do you know a teacher who would benefit from having this award-winning book? 

Just leave a comment with the name of the school!

I’d also like to recommend another great resource for parents AND teachers…Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents  by Susan Case…I’ll be reviewing this book in the next couple of weeks.


23 thoughts on “Is Your Child Ready for School?

  1. Vivian – Thank you so much for purchasing a Boredom Buster’s ebook to support the BGCA. I see you also grabbed the button. Thanks! I grabbed your button and will share your great post. Have a wonderful day.


    • Hurray!! When we all work together to empower parents and children…great things happen. 🙂
      Thanks, Susan…it is a pleasure to connect with you! And the Bloggers Filling Backpacks is such a great idea!


    • Thank you, Erik…I hope so! Each child is unique and matures at his or her own pace…but parents can help prepare them with these simple steps…especially for kids that haven’t been to daycare or preschool. 🙂


  2. You know, I think there are basic guidelines for a child to be ready for preschool (e.g. be potty trained if required by the school). But for the rest, I figure that’s what school is about, teaching them all these skills they can’t learn without their peers. I see most moms asking that question about readiness are more often asking themselves if they are ready to let their kid go to school! I never was in that situation but I’m sure if I’d stayed home with my kids since they were babies, it’d be very hard for me to send them to preschool. I see moms on a regular basis who drop off their kids at preschool for the first time and they’re in tears, while the kid is having fun making new friends!


    • Thanks, Susanna!  Sometimes it can seems overwhelming…parenting, that is. 🙂  Breaking it down into small steps does help…makes it seem doable…kind of like writing a picture book. 🙂 🙂  Or a perfect picture book pitch. 🙂 🙂   


  3. This is such a helpful post, Vivian. Sometimes I feel like the social and developmental skills necessary are more intangible. You’ve come up with a concrete list and strategies for helping your child obtain these skills. Thank you!


    • I’m so happy you’d like to take a look at it, Tracy! I’ll try to get it over to you later today…have to go and do my once-a-week cooking/baking marathon…will be making eggplant parm, baked chicken, baked potatoes and a carrot cake…then I have dinners for the next week and don’t have to fuss too much when I get home from work. 🙂 One of the best, all-around tips I can share with busy moms and others. 🙂


    • Yes, you are right, Eliz!…it’s amazing how quickly time passes…which only emphasizes how important it is to spend the time with our little ones as much as we can…they won’t be little for long. 🙂


  4. Pingback: The Happy Mommy Handbook…Real Help for Real Moms « Positive Parental Participation

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