Will Your Child Start School Too Young?
Sending your child to school is a big transition, so choosing when to send your child to school is an incredibly important decision, one that often sends families into a flush.
Overall, this choice should depend on the child’s individual needs. Having an extra year or so can help your child learn the skills they need in order to enjoy their new environment, and it can give them time to mature emotionally and socially. Here are some questions to take into account when making this decision.
Is Your Child Independent
This is a big factor to consider. If your child isn’t able to take care of their basic needs – washing hands, eating their lunch without fuss, napping – then taking some time to work on these skills is encouraged. It is also important to consider whether your child is academically independent. Will they be able to make decisions for themselves at school?
Will They Be Alright Being Separated from You?
Some homesickness is to be expected. Overall, if your child would rather be home than at school, perhaps waiting for a while wouldn’t be a bad idea. School isn’t just about grades and graduation, it’s about the journey. It’s important for your child to be excited about learning and making friends. If they view it as a chore this early on, it may only become more difficult for them.
Can Your Child Focus?
School involves focusing on many different activities. Some children need time to grow and be able to focus on activities independently. The ability to concentrate and move from activity to activity without getting frustrated or lost comes with maturity.
Can Your Child Interact Well with Other Children?
School is a group activity. All day, every day, your child will be surrounded by other children, and it’s vital that they are able to communicate and interact positively with each other. Some children are not ready to interact closely with other children, but this is a skill that is able to be developed.
The best place to introduce your child to other children in group-activity settings is at early learning schools and then libraries. Often, during story time, there will be an opportunity for children to engage with one another. Another option is enrolling in an early learning school program where your child is engaged in an environment that is not as grade-focused as schooling can be.
Can They Cope?
School isn’t just about learning. Children will encounter a variety of challenges, from making new friends to struggling with certain ideas. If they aren’t able to cope with these challenges, they may struggle in school and run into problems later down the track.
Waiting until your child matures emotionally and socially can have long-lasting benefits for their schooling and home life. It is likely that they will gain confidence from their ability to overcome challenges.
School is an experience and whether, for your child, that involves starting earlier or later, it is important that they enjoy it. Ultimately, this choice should come down to your child’s characteristics. Every child matures at a different rate so try not to look at other children too much. If your child is excited and ready for school early, that’s great! If you feel that you should wait another year to give your child some room to grow, that’s great, too!