November 29, 2019


We constantly talk about ‘school readiness’ but what does it actually mean?

With the school year drawing to a close, and a new class of kids preparing to start school in 2020, the debate about when to send your child to school is on again. There’s an argument for every side. If you send them early, you’ll be extending them, if you send them later, you give them a chance to gain confidence first. It seems you just can’t win. So when is the right time to send your child to school and is it the same for everybody?

An Overwhelming Time

Starting primary school is an overwhelming time for any child, and for parents too it can be a difficult transition. ‘School readiness’ is not about academic ability necessarily, but refers instead to the knowledge, skills and behaviours children need to be able to adjust to the demands of the school environment.
Children who are school ready are:

  • Able to get along with other children
  • Able to follow instructions and directions from teachers
  • Able to cope with minimal adult contact in a large group
  • Able to speak clearly and communicate their needs
  • Able to demonstrate fine and gross motor skills like running, jumping, holding a pencil etc.
  • Able to independently go to the toilet, carry their bag and manage their belongings

More Than Just A Number

For kids born at the very start or end of the calendar year, the options are a little less flexible. If you turn 5 in December, chances are you’ll be starting school in February bang on schedule. For those born in the middle of the year however, they can start school at 4 1/2, 5/12 and in the case of some kids, 6 years of age. It really comes down to the judgement of parents.

Can you see your child heading off to school in a uniform, with a school bag and homework and responsibilities? If the answer is no, and they’re not quite at school age yet, perhaps it’s worth considering another year at pre-school to give them the best chance of success.

How did you know when it was time to send your children to school? Tell us in the comments.



  • Does it really matter what a parent thinks? It’s more what the law states as to when kids start school, ready or not


  • Go with your gut. If you’re not sure, discuss it with your child’s educator / teacher


  • I knew it was time when the government said “kindergarten enrolments for children who are 4 and turning 5 next year are now open.” The only other thing of importance on the list of readiness was that your child needed to be completely self sufficient in the toilet department. I don’t think my first born would have ever been school ready, he would happily have been home schooled. My second born couldn’t wait to start! My first would cry at bring left behind, at the same time my second would cry at being taken home. She would have preferred staying at school at age 1 with her brother.


  • Pre-school got too boring for them, they wanted to start writing stories etc and got sick of playing with sand. They got along well with their peers & could communicate clearly.


  • My youngest is 6yrs old, has down Syndrome and will repeat Prep. From this list she’s only able to get along with other children. The rest of this list would indicate she isn’t ready and may never be ready lol !
    Able to get along with other children
    Able to follow instructions and directions from teachers
    Able to cope with minimal adult contact in a large group
    Able to speak clearly and communicate their needs
    Able to demonstrate fine and gross motor skills like running, jumping, holding a pencil etc.
    Able to independently go to the toilet, carry their bag and manage their belongings
    Don’t take this list too literally !!


  • the day care teachers help in understanding about your kid’s progress… speak to them :)


  • Yep I’m holding back my eldest. Age had come a long way in the last 12 months, but emotionally I don’t think she will be ready for school next year. She has struggled with proper communication and we are working on that with professional help, but she is still behind.


  • Interesting article


  • I thought she was ready and the kinder teacher confirmed it.


  • My daughter starts Prep next year.
    I feel we could have started her last year as she is very intelligent. She did need the extra time to become emotionally prepared.


  • My daughter will be 5.5 when she starts in 2021 (July baby). So individual to each child – no one can determine it but you and your child


  • I started school when I was four turning five in Feb. It was very ready for school.


  • If any doubt, opt for a later start. It is not only starting school when social problems can crop up but also much later, even in the latter stages of school when all the peers are one year older. Scandinavian countries have a later start for their kids and it seems to work very well for them.


  • I could tell our eldest was ready because he started to become bored if he wasn’t being challenged. He kept asking for more educational based games, books, and wanted to know when he could be with his friends.


  • If your child has reached the age to start & showing good signs in eating habits, sleeping patterns & takes keen interest in story listening, books that means he is ready.

    Congratulations to myself and all mamas around me, summers are finally approaching! And best of luck, to all those who will be starting school after summer first time. It’s particularly attractive yet challenging for me, because my little one will start as well. Which means, for some very few hours daily, I will have absolute quiet in the house. Let’s devour this….

    It also means it’s gonna be crazy in the Archi Effect household, two kids to get ready, two bags to pack, two lunches to think up, double trouble, double craziness. Here are some helpful points We have made to combat it all. Hope they help you too.

    1- Routine is God. Sleeping, eating, waking up, play time, homework times should be the same EVERYDAY. Even weekends. You can change a few things one day a week, but mention it to your child. Let him/her know and the reason. A lot of commotion cuts down when the child (and you) have fixed times.

    2- Being late is ok, Hurrying up is not. There are days you will be tired, the alarm will not go off, long bathroom hours, unexpected vomiting etc. So, your child might get late. It’s ok. I have learnt that being late is better than hurrying through the morning routine. It makes them stressed and disoriented for the rest of the day. Don’t do it. Don’t drive too fast, don’t make them gulp down that glass of milk.

    3- Discuss breakfast and lunch a day before. Lesser tantrums on the breakfast table and more chances of a finished lunch box. Try it, they feel like the deal is made. Also children enjoy the level of control, you can negotiate on healthy and things they would like to have.

    4-Respect the child and people around you. This is so important, don’t scold the child. Don’t make him a target of your frustration early morning. Whatever went wrong, IT ISN’T THE CHILD’S FAULT. This has a great impact. They give back what was given to them. If you are driving to school, make sure you are not overtaking, tailgating or breaking laws. Be considerate, Park in the right spot. Your child is watching.

    5- Spend quality time. With the children off to school, it’s possible you don’t get a lot of time together. You might have work schedule. But make sure the little time you are with them, you are wholly with them. Paying attention to what they say and what they are trying to communicate. Ideally 15 mins early morning and before going to bed are your best times to bond. This provides security and self confidence.

    6- Cliched but NEVER compare. Accolades in school are not connected to how your child will do in life. Each child is unique, excellent if I may say. Pay close attention and work on discovering their strengths. They have it, they all have it. Once you know what it is, it will be a goldmine of opportunities for your child.

    7- Takecare of yourself, emotionally, mentally, physically. A happy, content, well- maintained, in control mom is the solution to all problems!

    Enjoy the new academic year!


Post a comment
Like Facebook page

LIKE MoM on Facebook

Please enter your comment below
Would you like to include a photo?
No picture uploaded yet.
Please wait to see your image preview here before hitting the submit button.
Your MoM account

Lost your password?

Enter your email and a password below to post your comment and join MoM:

You May Like


Looks like this may be blocked by you browser or content filtering.

↥ Back to top

Thanks For Your Star Rating!

Would you like to add a written rating or just a star rating?

Write A Rating Just A Star Rating