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Signs Your Toddler Is Ready for Preschool, According to an ExpertPay close attention to how your child acts and behaves, moms!CREATED WITH NIDO 3+
As much as you want your kids to grow independent, letting go of their hand for the first time is especially tough. You can’t help but feel anxious as you send them off to the first step of a long and exciting journey: preschool.
You may be asking yourself, “Are they truly ready for it?”
Fatima Corina A. Robles, a teacher in a Navotas City elementary school, says parents need to look at the whole picture to determine their kids’ readiness for school. “We must always view a child in a holistic way,” she says.
“We should see their characteristics in all domains of development—see how they develop physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively,” Teacher Fatima adds.
These are the characteristics parents should look for to gauge the school-readiness of their kids:
1. Your kid can move about well on his own.
This means kids must be able to use large muscle groups for basic movements such as walking and running. Being able to do these significant, coordinated muscle movements means self-help skills such as getting in and out of bed are also developed.
The ability to use smaller muscles like those in their hands also means kids are ready for school activities. Being able to play with small blocks or zip up their hoodies means they’re ready to draw with a pencil, cut using scissors, and do self-care tasks like brushing their teeth.
2. Your kid is open to interacting with more people.
In preschool, it’s inevitable that your kids will be meeting a lot of people. If they are reacting positively to the presence of both adults and children who aren’t family members, it may be a sign they’re ready to engage in more social settings.
“Parents may also consider looking at and studying the differences and connections [between the] home and school,” says Teacher Fatima. “The home and the school differ in size and structure. The number of people is different, too—and so are the rules and routines. When any changes in these variables no longer result in adverse responses from the child, he may be regarded as ‘ready.’”
3. Your child has begun to control and manage his emotions.
It’s not that he won’t have emotional outbursts anymore. But he can focus more on school tasks and behave appropriately. Sometimes, managing behavior can get frustrating for both the parent and the child, but moms and dads should never fail to encourage their kids.
“Positive words can go a long way. Words of encouragement will enable them to hone their skills further,” says Teacher Fatima.
4. Your child is curious.
In the eyes of kids, their parents seem to have the answers to all questions. It’s flattering, albeit annoying at times (especially when they can’t seem to accept your answer!).
One thing you should do is to encourage their curiosity. It enhances their cognitive thinking, creativity, and appreciation for the world. Kids who ask endless questions may be ready to join a more stimulating learning environment.
Teacher Fatima’s advice: “Allow discovery to take place. As you and your child go [through] the whole process of ‘readying’ for preschool and developing skills to be called ‘ready,’ you will surely have a lot more things to discover.”
At the end of the day, parents will know if their toddlers are ready for preschool if they get to really know them and allow them to grow.
“Parents must fully understand the characteristics of their child—not only what the child can do, but also what he cannot do,” says Teacher Fatima.
“There is no other best source of information than your child. Get to know his or her feelings, interests, strengths, weaknesses, and personality,” she adds. “[Children] will learn and grow when you allow them to. Their readiness depends a lot on their parents’ readiness to let go.”
Many moms are pressured to send their very young kids to preschool only because their peers are doing it, but Teacher Fatima says this shouldn’t be the case. “There is a perfect time for everything. School should be regarded as a partner in nurturing children to reach their highest potential, and not a place for a race and rushing things,” she says.
When helping your kids prepare mentally for preschool, make sure they learn how to behave properly, too. Here, a pediatrician explains why kids throw tantrums and how moms can address them:
Don’t forget to make sure they’re healthy and physically ready as well. To support their overall growth, remember to feed them well-balanced meals, let them exercise regularly, and give them at least one glass of age-appropriate milk to meet their daily nutrient requirement.
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Fatima Corina A. Robles is a teacher at an elementary school in Navotas City. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in family life and child development at the University of the Philippines-Diliman and completed her master’s degree in education, specializing in basic education teaching at Ateneo De Manila University.
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