Is my 18-month-old ready for nursery school?
I want to put my 18-month-old in a nursery school so that he gets to play with his peers and gets the right kind of mental stimulation. I'm worried that he's a bit young though. How can I tell that my little boy is ready for this step?
Source

Derek Jackson (child psychologist) answers:

There is no easy answer to this question because so many a variables are at work and one size
does not fit all.

The first consideration is the age of the child. Your child is 18 months old, and as a general rule I would say he is better off at home with mom. You should not feel under any pressure to place your child in any group until he is at least three years. Having said that, we need to look at your individual circumstances too. Do you need to work to supplement the family income? Financial
problems may cause stress in the family, which in turn will affect the emotional stability of the child. I really admire young parents’ willingness to work hard to supply their children with the good things in life.

Secondly, do you enjoy being at home? If you do and can afford to be a stay at home, and the child is under the age of three, I can think of no better situation. If you don’t enjoy staying at home though, you shouldn’t have any guilt feelings about going back to work.

So what am I saying? Up until three years, there is no place like home, taking into account the circumstances outlined above. During these three years you should try to create opportunities
for your child to socialise with other children of the same age by way of visits to friends and family. Also there are many groups where children meet together with their mothers in a stimulating
environment. As the child approaches three, you may consider a play group for one or a few days a week. A formal preschool should be an appropriate placement when your child turns four.

Some mothers have no choice but to go back to work long before the child is three. While we are blessed in South Africa in having many wonderful nannies at such a reasonable cost I would prefer that the child whose parents both work be placed in a crèche that is professionally run rather than being left with the nanny at home, especially if the nanny has housework to do as well. When you return from work at the end of the day you can check whether the dishes have been washed, but you cannot check whether the children have been adequately cared for by the nanny.

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
 

week-by-week

Want to know what your baby looks like and what you can expect at this stage?

 

Mysmartkid

Sponsored

Nurture your child's creativity

Inspiring and nurturing your child’s creativity is actually quite simple and can be a lot of fun for both of you. Here are some top tips:

See more >
 
 

Directories

Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.