As far as cliches go, the most cliched of the lot would probably be – Time really flies! And it does, indeed. Especially when you have entered the world of parenthood, and each of your minute in the day is accounted for. In spite of being super-efficient at everything that you do, your little one keeps running hand-in-hand with the time. And you’re left gaping at the birthday candles every year, wondering where did the time really go?
Like all major decisions, right from what to give the baby for dinner tonight, to which is the next child-friendly destination in your holiday list that you can travel to, there’s also that all-important life-altering decision of choosing the right school for him. Wait, before that, there’s the question of when to send him to school. Or even, does he really need to go to school at all?
So, let’s look at these questions one by one. Should you really send your child to a school/ preschool? Like every other question pertaining to your child, this is best answered by you and your partner. A lot of us choose to send the kids to school for the routine and discipline it brings with it. The little one (and you, by extension) get into a cycle where the breakfast is done on time, the kid enjoys a bit of outing, and is back home hungry for lunch and a little nap. It gives the parents a couple of hours of space, and very importantly, it gives the kid a bit of social exposure, interacting with his peers and the caregivers at the preschool – much desirable in this era of nuclear families, where the kids don’t get to see as many people at home.
On the other hand, sending a kid out to a preschool is a moment of anxiety for the parents. At home, we take the utmost care in maintaining the hygiene, protecting them from any infections, and always involved and around should they need us. One of the standard by-products of sending a kid out is the infection that he brings in – chronic colds and upset stomachs topping the list. And then, if the kid is shy or introvert, he would be quite unhappy leaving his home, and there would be some very depressing crying episodes – it might feel that the whole exercise is quite painful, and could have been done without. All the learning that happens at a preschool, except for the social interaction, can be easily done at home too.
So, should you, or should you not? Evaluate your own energy levels, your other constraints (going out to work vs stay at home/ someone at home to monitor the child), the child’s interest, and your own comfort at being away from him and your tolerance for the bugs that are going to pester your child when he comes in contact with the outside world, and decide for yourself. You will figure out the best eventually, like everything else in parenting.
A long one already – let’s talk about the right time in the next post, shall we?