And How

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Am I being unconventional when I say that I don't think it's necessary to go to preschool?  I've been getting a lot of information lately that is supposed to make me decide I should send my 3.5 year old to preschool to "get him ready" for regular school.

I'm not buying it.

I understand that a lot of kids end up in preschool because both parents work or because maybe the child requires some special instruction (like language, for example) that the parents cannot provide, but besides that...I don't get it.

These are the two guilt trigger phrases that I feel are thrown at parents the most:

  • Your children need the socialization that they will get from other kids at a daycare/preschool. they don't!  If mom needs some socialization away from the kids, that's one thing, but my 3.5 year old doesn't need to socialize with anyone except me.  No one will deny that kids model their behavior after the behavior of the parents more often than not.  With good role models as parents, your children will be plenty fine learning from socializing with you!  I'm not saying that you should keep your kids away from opportunities to play and engage with other children; I think that it's vitally important that kids know how to react with their peers.  Instead, I'm suggesting that your kids will benefit from as much quality time with you as possible in the early years.  Don't feel that you're depriving your kids of a necessary experience by choosing to forgo preschool.
  • Kids who go to preschool do better in school and are more ready for it.  There are a couple of reasons that I take issue with this.  First of all, I didn't go to preschool and I think I was plenty prepared for school when I started after adjusting for a couple of days.  That makes this argument personal.  Secondly, from an educational background, your kids aren't learning that much in preschool that you couldn't teach at home.  Don't believe me?  Read up on What Your Child Should Learn in Preschool and ask yourself if you have basic knowledge of those skills (That's a joke.  You know how to do all of it...hopefully...if not, you might want to think about preschool).
I am not trying to make anyone feel guilty who is already sending their child or children to preschool.  Moms already deal with enough guilt for every single other parenting decision out there from breastfeeding and diapers to co-sleeping and car seats.  Not sending your kids to preschool is just something that we don't need to feel guilty about and it's frustrating that people wold assume we wouldn't do what we thought was best.  If I'm happy being with my children and they are well-adjusted and healthy, then to me, that's the best-case scenario.  After all, they are only little for so long and I want to soak up every little bit of their childhood as possible!


  1. I agree with you. If you enjoy the kids home with you, I would keep them there until they have to go. I love being around kids and would keep mine at home if I had the chance too. You are doing the right thing by making the best decision for you. Plus, I have always thought children were too young for 3K especially the daycare kids I have had. Parents want some kids to grow up too fast.

  2. Well written - to me, the problem is that society thinks there is only one way to do things. Your rationale makes sense to me - I'm sure you give your boys plenty of chances to socialize with other kids. Getting to stay home with you is a fortunate thing for them - so enjoy the time!

  3. THANK YOU! I got blasted a few months ago because I questioned whether or not Ben really *needs* preschool. An early education major friend of mine said to me: "You are doing your child a grave disservice if you really decide to keep him out of preschool." Um, excuse me?

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything you've written! I am as capable of teaching him what he would learn in preschool as any preschool teacher out there, and as for socialization, I truly do believe that the socialization he gets at the play groups we go to and church nursery is more than enough. Today's society is definitely in a hurry to make our kids grow up as quickly as possible, like Ali said.

    Well written, girl!

  4. Thanks everyone! I think a lot of parents today have too little faith in themselves and their abilities to teach their own children. Sometimes I think about how nice it would be to have that time to myself, but then I think how quickly it will pass and one day I'll be begging them to spend time with me! I'd rather my kids know that I value them more than whatever advantage they might get from preschool, and I am truly blessed to be able to enjoy my few short years home with them.

    Courtney, I think that's the real problem...people expect everyone to do what worked for them. And me, being who I am, want to do just the opposite sometimes, just to be different!

    Chelsea, I can't believe someone said (and actually believes) that! Like I tell people about breastfeeding, you might regret not ever doing it, but you'll never regret trying!