Taking the step to put your child into school is a big one. No longer are they under your care every day—or even if they’ve had experience i
n daycare, moving them to school still feels like the move of a “big kid.” They are no longer helpless babies; they’re ready for the next stage of their childhood.
Some signs that your child is ready for school are easy to spot, while others take a bit more time to make themselves known. It’s important to note that not every child who exhibits these signs is ready for school—and it might be the case that your child still isn’t ready even if they are exhibiting these signs. School readiness is a case-by-case issue, and as the parent, it’s your decision whether or not your child is ready to make the leap.
Keep reading to learn more about five signs that your child is ready for school.
1. They have the ability to spend time without you.
When first starting school, young children all over the world experience separation anxiety—it’s natural because it’s their first time away from home (or daycare) in a brand-new environment. This is a phase that you have to get through—but a child must be willing to spend time away from you in order to adjust to the new environment that they’ll grow to love.
You can help this process along by letting your child know that you’ll always come back. Reassure them with this fact, and help them understand that you aren’t leaving forever when you leave them at school and that it’s a fun place to spend time.
2. They are potty-trained.
Many preschools require that students be completely potty-trained before starting school. (Schools that offer infant and two-year-old programs don’t have this requirement, if your child is below school age.) Being potty trained makes it easier for your child to behave independently while at school and have a good time while they’re there—understanding cues from their body without having accidents or becoming embarrassed.
Keep in mind, though, that accidents do happen—especially with children just starting school who might not yet be comfortable in their new environment. These types of potty accidents should never be met with shame or humiliation—instead, use them to teach your child that accidents are simply a part of life.
3. They are able to focus/concentrate for a significant amount of time.
The amount of time that your child will be able to focus on one thing will vary depending on their age, but preschoolers should be able to concentrate anywhere between fifteen and twenty minutes on one task. In order to make sure that your child has a successful and productive school experience, make sure that they can stay focused on one thing—whether it’s a craft, toy, or activity—for that amount of time before jetting off to what’s next.
4. They have good social skills.
Being in school helps cultivate social skills, but the seed for such skills should be planted at home. Interacting with other children is a given when a child heads off to school, and you want to make sure that your child is ready for such interaction on a day-to-day basis. If your child is shy, has a short temper, or is generally anxious, it might be a good idea to give them an adjustment period before diving right into a new environment with tons of new faces.
Preparing your children for school starts with socializing them as much as possible. School will help to refine the skills of taking turns, sharing, and listening, but there should be some sort of foundation there before a child enters the classroom.
5. They have the energy for a day of school.
School days typically last longer and are more structured than what a child is used to. Because of this, it’s essential to make sure that your child has the right stamina to handle a day of school or make it to a midday nap. A child that’s too tired for school won’t enjoy the new experience because they aren’t at the stage where they’re able to thrive.
Here are two bonus questions that you can ask yourself to see if your child is ready for school:
- Can my child eat on their own?
- Does my child recognize at least a few letters of the alphabet?
Answering yes to these questions will move you closer to your decision regarding school readiness.
Your School-Ready Child
School is rewarding for children in a variety of different ways. As a parent, it’s your job to recognize when your child is ready to take the leap and start school. When they’re ready, give us a call—Austin Children’s Academy would love to have your little learner come learn with us.