You Didn't Need Preschool - But Your Kids Probably Do

It's understandable why some parents are skeptical about sending their kids to preschool.

Parents may think "I never went to preschool, and I turned out just fine."

And while this may be true, times have changed — and so have children and their parents. Understanding these differences will help you understand why sending your child to preschool can have a huge impact on their personal and academic future.

More Parents Work Outside of the Home

In the 1970s, most mothers stayed home. In fact, only 30 percent of mothers with a child under the age of five worked outside of the home. Nowadays, 60 percent of mothers with a preschool aged child work outside of the home.

When mothers were more likely to stay home, they had more time to interact with their children. They were able to participate in hands on activities, start teaching their children important words and phrases, and provide socialization opportunities. These are all just some of the many benefits of preschool, and very often, children who do not attend preschool can miss some of these important stepping stones.

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Children Spend Less Outdoors

These days, children are so connected to electronics that they are not motivated to go outdoors. It's likely that you remember spending many hours playing outside as a child. Unfortunately, some children of the modern generation won't share these same memories. According to a new study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, only 51 percent of children go outside once a day with one of their parents.

Playing outside has many long-term health benefits. It decreases the risk for obesity and cancer, and improves well-being. Nearly all preschools have scheduled outdoor time, which means that children are far more likely to get the fresh air that they need.

Children Today Have Fewer Siblings

Parents today do not have as many children as they did in 1972, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that children don't have as many siblings to play with and learn from. In preschool, children learn important social skills such as taking turns, waiting, and listening while interacting with other children.

More Children Go to Preschool

More than two-thirds of four year olds attended preschool in 2005. These children learn valuable pre-reading and math skills and develop a richer vocabulary, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) director W. Steven Barnett, PhD.

Since more and more children are attending preschool, kindergarten teachers often adjust their lesson plans to exclude preschool education they assume their students have already received. While this is great for many incoming kindergarteners, it also means that those who didn't attend preschool are far more likely to fall behind.

Additional Resources:

We Just Launched our New Preschool Search

Obama Promotes Preschool Plan in Visit to Georgia

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