Should I send my child to pre-school?

The advantages and disadvantages of sending your toddler to pre-school….

Whether to send your toddler to pre-school or not is a difficult decision to make. Whilst pre-school is not compulsory, many parents are of the opinion giving their child the chance to mix with other children and socialise prior to their compulsory school years begin, leaves a child in better stead to deal with school.

If you are having difficulty deciding whether your child would benefit from pre-school, we explore the advantages and disadvantages of sending your toddler to pre-school.

The advantages of pre-school

However much you adore your child, no parent can fill their day being 100% focused on carrying out child-related activities.

The lunch needs to be cooked, the clothes need ironing and the carpets need vacuuming, meaning that whilst you are carrying out these activities, your little one effectively has to entertain herself.

In this sense, pre-school can be great, as whilst your child is at the school, you can be getting on with the essential day to day running of the house, safe in the knowledge that your toddler is involved in proactive, stimulating activities.

Children, generally speaking, love mixing and playing with other children and sending them to pre-school will give them the opportunity to make friends, learn the concept of sharing and develop social skills.

Unlike nurseries and child-minders, pre-schools are free for children to attend. If you are a working mum or dad then your weekly budget could be significantly improved by taking your child out of an expensive private nursery and putting her in pre-school whilst you are at work.

The disadvantages of pre-school

Young children can become extremely anxious and distressed when it comes to attending pre-school, which can be equally as distressing for the parents.

‘Separation anxiety’ is a real concern for many parents whose children are upset when it comes to dropping them off at pre-school. This is an understandable reaction for many children, who up until now have only been used to being glued to their mum or dad’s side.

It may be hard watching your toddler’s distress, but perseverance is the key here, and, nine times out of ten, a child does get over this ‘separation anxiety’ and begins to enjoy pre-school.

Of course ‘separation anxiety’ can be a two-way process and, with your little one no longer beside you, can leave you feeling depressed and worried about your child’s wellbeing.

Another disadvantage of sending your child to pre-school is that, no sooner have they started there, they begin to be bogged down by coughs, cold and various other illnesses.

Whilst looking after an ill child can be difficult, by mixing with other children, your child will develop her immune system, which could prove advantageous when she starts proper school.