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SAHMs - What age did you first send your child to preschool?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I am going back and forth on this so much! I can't seem to make up my mind.  My DS just turned 3 in April.  We were thinking of sending him this year in September to Pre-K (I work at home, so it's not for any other reason other than for his socialization and learning).  However, I then think I would like him to start at 4 and feel 3 is too young.  For some reason, I feel like he is not ready for that type of environment yet. (I am old school and didn't start kindergarten myself until 5.  It's so much different today!) 


Anyway, I'm just curious as to what other mommies are doing out there when they are stay-at-home-moms.  Do you wait to send them at 4, so they only have one year of preschool, or do you send them sooner at 3, so they will then have 2 years of preschool.  I'm not sure if he will hate it or not at this point.


He does a program at the Little Gym which is great for socialization for him and I plan on joining the MOMs Club.  This way, he will have all the socialization he needs with kids his age.  That's a huge reason why I don't think he needs the pre-K just yetshrug.gif


Thoughts? Experience? Advice?

post #2 of 22

DS started at 2.5 years twice a week and will go 5 days a week starting at 3.

post #3 of 22

DS started a pre-preschool program at the Y, 2 days a week for 3 hours a day, when he was 2.  Each session is 5 or 6 weeks at a time, so it's not a long commitment.  I plan on enrolling DD in the same program this fall, but she may be less ready for it than DS was, so I may have to stay with her to get her acclimated, whereas DS took to it with gusto and only cried when I picked him, LOL.


He did that program off and on for a year and a half, and then started preschool at 4.  He was in preschool one year, then sort of a "junior" kindergarten this past year, and will be entering proper kindergarten this fall, at age 6.  So he's already been in school for several years, but absolutely loves it and thrives when he is around other kids.



post #4 of 22

My son just turned two and we are not yet considering preschool, but I do remember starting preschool (we called it nursery school) myself at age three. It was just a few mornings a week. I remember that I was always home by lunchtime. This was back in 1980, though, so I don't know what's "normal" these days. To me,  two or three mornings a week seems ideal for a child that age.

post #5 of 22

I actually work 2 days a week and my parents watch the kids one day and my friend the other.  So, to give my parents a break I had signed my son up for a 2 year old "preschool" which was one day a week for 2 hours on the day they watched him.  And, he did fine, but I see in hindsight that he was really way too young.  I go back to work full time soon and I signed my son up for 3 hours a day/3 days a week preschool with the park district this fall.  He's now 4 and he's really ready.  (BTW We're going to have a nanny.) 


I knew I wouldn't have a ton of time  (it really does go by so fast) so I wanted to spend every moment I could with them.  Maybe it was selfish that I didn't get him in preschool at 3, but overall I think that mommy time is way more important for everyone.  They have many, many years of school ahead of them, but only a little bit of full time mommy time.  I wanted to capitalize on that. 


Good luck on whatever you decide.  Each child is different and you have to decide what's best for them and for you. 

post #6 of 22

Both of my kids did at age 2 did a day a week for two hours, then at three they do 2 days a week for 2 1/2 hours , this coming up year my daughter will be doing full on pre-k at 4 -5 days a week for 2 1/2 hours. I think that you are involved in a lot that would give him the socialization he needs already so i wouldn't fret too much :)

post #7 of 22

DS never cried, he sat down and didn't even said bye-bye being too buys with the arts and crafts they offer. He is doing great at this point with his twice a week 3h day. The 5 day week will be even better for him, he can play with the kids, learn all those things he loves to learn. And quite frankly, it gives me some alone time with the baby and time to prepare meals so we can all spend our time together when he's home. It's no big deal to me time-wise, it's only 3h/day!

post #8 of 22

My son also turned 3 in April and we are debating doing something.  I do want him to get some time away from me for a few hours a week starting this fall, so it is not such a shock for him (or me!) when he starts 4K.  I'm thinking about signing him up for Kid's Club at the YMCA.  It's two mornings a week for two hours and it's more of an organized play, rather than preschool.  He seems to be picking up enough on his letters and numbers, I don't think the education part is as important as him learning how to listen to other adults.

post #9 of 22

DS4 will be 3 in October.   He will start 3 mornings a week in August at a montessori preschool.     He will do 5 mornings a week the year before Kindergarten.    No way could do more than 3 mornings before 4  "I" would  miss him to much

post #10 of 22
I've heard that anything less than 3x a week can be hard on preschoolers - that it's too infrequent to become part of their routine. I'm sure it differs for each child, but, it is something to consider.
That said, my kids both attended preschool at 3 and absolutely loved it. I really feel it was a great choice for them on so many levels.
ETA: I'd go visit and tour your local preschool options. That might make your decision for you. You might find a place you think will be a great fit for your child, or, you might not.
post #11 of 22

I was so on the fence with letting DD1 go anywhere without me!!  lol  But she started asking last summer when she was about to turn 3 (late sept bday) because her cousin was going so I asked around, visited every.single.one in our town & went with the one we got the right feeling from...best decision ever.  She thrived from day 1 there & it did wonders for her.  We love them so much & will miss them when/if we move.


She went 2 days a week but they were longer days than many offer-9am to 1pm.  That was something I liked about vs other programs that were only 2 hours or so.  They had time for everything...free play, arts & crafts, book time, singing, a little bit of learning, snack/lunch break & outdoor play. 


She will turn 4 at the end of this Sept & I am considering 3-4 days a week.  Grandpa is offering to put $ toward it too which is a real help for being able to add on another day or 2. 



post #12 of 22

DS will be 3 at the end of July and will be starting at a local (block away) play-based preschool in Sept.  4 hours/day for 3 mornings/week.  I'm expecting #2 at the end of October, so while the main impetus is for DS to build school-related socialization skills and get used to being in a "school" setting, I think it will also be helpful to me....except for the waking up way earlier than we have been for the last 3 years.

post #13 of 22

My oldest did not go to school until 1st grade. He's a perfectly happy, healthy kid who is popular and gets good grades. 

My middle son really wanted to go to school, so we sent him at 2.5. He loved it, and went two years before starting K at 4.5. 

It totally depends on the kid, I wouldn't force a 3 yr. old to go to preschool if they didn't want to but I would send them if they wanted to go. I think I will encourage my (11 month old) daughter to give it a try at 3. 

post #14 of 22

I lean towards just doing the year before K. DD1 didn't go to school until 1st grade either and went in just fine. DD2 has a b-day that just misses the cut off, she went off and on last year to preschool, she had turned 4 right after the school year started. I was trying to go to grad school but nothing worked out, my schooling nor hers so I pulled her and then we tried again this spring because I am pg and due right before school starts again. Her personality is such that she needs lots of transition time so we worked on school being a good place before the baby comes and then she'll go 3 days this year when she is 5. 


DS has an April B-Day and I'm leaning towards waiting until he is 4 as well even though I know he would be fine at 3. There is just so many years of school, I don't see an reason to rush it for my family anyway.

post #15 of 22

I'm not a full-time SAHM because I go to school part-time, but here's my situation. DD is now 26 months and has been going to either set of grandparents' house for a few hours a day a few times a week while I'm in school for the past year. I love that she's spending time with her grandparents and I love that it's free, but I don't think she gets the same things as when I'm with her during those hours. When I'm not going to school, we go to the nature center or La Leche League or even just to the children's museum or story time. Simple things, but things where she's getting socialization and leaving the house. When I'm in school I still have time, but since most those activities are in the morning and I'm also busy with homework and labs, it's just difficult to make it to these things. So I decided this year she's going to a preschool on campus. 


It'll be 5 days a week (though two of them she may not always go because it's just homework time/keeping things consistent for her/I had extra hours I could use) for 4 hours a day. It's a daycare, but it's a preschool-type daycare because it's actually the early education students that are aids (along with at least one regular "teacher" that's always there). I'm really nervous about putting her in the setting with a bunch of kids without me there, but at the same time I think it'll be good for her. I think she'll get the socialization and new activities that she doesn't get with the grandparents. I also think it's good to put them in the situations without mommy there to automatically rescue them. I'm sure I'll spend way too much time observing her (another great thing about it being a teaching preschool is that there is plenty of areas for observation), but I think it'll be good for her to figure out how to handle minor situations on her own. I probably wouldn't put her in anything this early if I was home all the time, but I think this is the best plan for our situation. She's also only going for this semester because I'm due with a baby next so I'll be taking it off. I don't think I'll send her back in the fall because of the fact that I'm going online to be with the new baby, but I may look into a different preschool just for the social aspect. Who knows. 

post #16 of 22

I sent DD at 2.9. I was having a baby (due a week or 2 after school started but born early, at 34 weeks), so it was nice to have the time to focus on the new little one, but mostly it was because she's just a very sociable person and loved being in the preschool environment. As it turned out, because I was going back and forth to the hospital 4 hours away for 7 weeks after DS was born, my parents, who are in their late 60s, really needed the break because they wound up taking care of DD a lot.


I think it mostly depends on the kid's personality. DD went 3 mornings a week this year, for about 3 1/2 hours each day. She always dove right in and never wanted to leave at the end of the day. Despite that, I had a few issues with the school, so we'll be doing something else in September after an unstructured summer. We might do Head Start (a home-based preschool program) or go to a different preschool, again probably only 3 mornings a week.

post #17 of 22
She was 3.5. I was really nervous and afraid she'd cry and have trouble, as we'd never really been separated before that, but she had no problems and loved it instantly. It was a great experience.
post #18 of 22

I'm a SAHM, and I doubt I'm going to send mine to preschool at all.  I'm probably even going to homeschool the first few years once he's school-age.  I might do a moms-day-out a few times a month when he gets older, but we'll see what we need when we get there.  I'm not worried about his socialization.  We belong to a mom's group where he plays with other kids.  He plays in the kids room when we're at church.  And we have regular play dates.



post #19 of 22

Ds had just turned 4. His birthday is the ninth and the cut off is the 15th. So he was in the 3yo class but was 4. I too did it for socialization and because he seemed to not be picking up what I was working with him on. Come to find out he had been learning it all but loved going to school. I was glad that I started him "later" and a teacher friend of mine said it is one of the best advantages you can give your kids is another year to mature. : )

post #20 of 22

I've been raffling with these decisions myself. DD is 2.5. I wanted to start her at age 3 (in January) but no school here takes them them, only in September. She misses the cut off for this year. A friend of mine and I are starting a small co-op preschool. It will be 2 days/week for 4 hours per day and we will each be spending every 4th day in the classroom assisting the teacher we've hired. My goal is to make this situation work for this year. If we love it, great. It works out to be super cheap ($160/mo). But if it doesn't work out, I will probably send her to an established co-op preschool. Those are 3 days/week. But she will be over 3.5 by then. And again, I would be in the classroom every 4th time. 


My daughter is highly social and begs to be around her friends and keeps asking to go to school. I know that she won't learn anything at preschool that she wouldn't learn at home. But I think she will truly love it. I could use some time to myself, especially if we finally end up having another baby. But I am also a bit sad and torn about giving up my precious time with her. I think 2 days/week is a good compromise right now - especially since she just dropped her nap and I am exhausted having to fill the entire day with activity. I doubt I will ever want to send her more than 3 mornings. 



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