To Preschool or Not to Preschool?

I am a stay-at-home-mom. Many of my sons’ friends are in preschool and their parents have pressured us to put our son in as well. He sees other kids on a regular basis so I feel he gets the socialization he needs, but I would appreciate your comments.

You’re right — one of the major benefits of a preschool experience is to develop social skills. But preschool is not a must for every child. By arranging for your son to play with other children you are giving him the same opportunities. Parents can recreate many of the other interesting activities that are typically found in preschool programs. The following suggestions are low cost and provide hours of fun for young children:

Finger painting: Instead of paint, use shaving cream. Choose a surface that will not be harmed by a soap product. Put a small amount of shaving cream in the center of the table and encourage your child to “paint” with his fingers. When he’s finished, his hands and the table will be clean!

Sand Table: Make a mini version of this preschool classic with a large plastic storage tub. Choose a one with a lid to make it portable. Fill the tub half full with one of the following: dried beans, oatmeal, or rice. Add plastic-measuring cups, spoons, and funnels. This activity is guaranteed to provide hours of fun exploration.

Dramatic Play: Preschools provide an area for children to dress up and play with dolls in a kitchen setting. You can do the same at home. Collect a variety of old clothes, hats, shoes, and accessories.

Add a simple set of plastic dishes, tableware and place mats. Then get ready to be invited to many pretend dinners.

And, please, read to your child for at least 15 minutes each day.

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