You may not be thinking about preschool yet, but believe it or not, it’s not too early! In fact, enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year for most preschools begins in January!! If you’re a first-time parent, you may not even realize preschool is an option for your little one, but it’s not too soon to start considering it. (If you’re like I was as a first-time parent, I didn’t have a clue about preschools or where to begin! Luckily I figured it out with the help of a few fellow moms.) Below you will find 13 Preschool Tips to consider.

I can’t believe it’s been eight years since my oldest child was in preschool. What a blessing that was for both me and for her! I sent my oldest daughter to a 4-year old preschool program, my middle daughter attended a 3-year old and a 4-year old preschool program and my youngest daughter went to a 3-year old preschool program. My youngest daughter went to a different preschool than the other two and we loved them both. Preschool was an overall great experience for our family and I highly recommend it. It’s a great way to give your child some structure, independence and social interaction with their peers and it can be a nice break for parents to get some things done around the house, run some errands, exercise or spend some quality time with the other little ones you may have at home.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you consider enrolling your child in preschool:

1) Enrollment begins in January for most preschools for the following school year.

2) There is a tuition fee for most preschools, so you will want to confirm cost once you narrow down your options. The good news is, if you plan ahead, some preschools offer early registration discounts.

3) Many preschools have open houses so you can visit and learn more about their program first-hand. These typically take place in January, February or early spring.

4) Preschool spots can fill up quickly since they are usually small class sizes, so the sooner the better when it comes to choosing one and registering!

5) Preschool is not just for 3 & 4 year olds! While 3K & 4K is most common, there are preschool programs available for ages 2 & up. There is even one preschool that offers parent discussion time while the kids attend their own class.

6) There are MANY different schedule options available for preschool with different days and times–mornings, afternoons, full days and wrap-around care so you can choose which one works best for you and your family.

7) Most 3 & up programs require the child to be potty trained. (If you have concerns about this, don’t rule it out–talk to them about it. For example, in the case of my youngest daughter, she wasn’t fully potty trained when she was three. She was fine with “number 1” but we were having issues with “number 2”. However, she never went “number 2” in the mornings, which is when she attended preschool, so this really wasn’t an issue.)

8) The ages and cut-off dates can be a little confusing–especially if this is your first time around–so talk to the school to clarify any questions or concerns you have about this.

9) If you have a child with a summer or fall birthday, you may want to send them to a 4-year old preschool program right after/when they turn 4 and then send them to your local 4K public school program the following year. Two of my daughters are Aug/Sept birthdays and missed the cut-off date for attending 4K through the public school so this is what we did for them–it worked out great and they are both excelling in school.

10) Visiting the school and meeting the teachers before making a decision is highly recommended! Better yet, bring your little one along once you’ve decided or narrowed it down to get their input and/or get them excited about this new milestone.

11) In my opinion, preschool is a nice alternative to daycare and in many cases, more affordable.

12) As you make your decision, consider location, times, days and logistics. You (or someone in your family) will have to drop-off and pick-up your child because there is no bussing for preschool! What is going to work best for your schedule and life and for your little one? My older two daughters attended a preschool that was closer to our home, which worked well for us at the time. But for my youngest, we chose a preschool that was farther away because it offered a 3-day a week morning 3K program, which we felt she needed. As it turns out, her preschool was on the way to the gym where we are members, so I spent most of the mornings she was in preschool exercising at the gym and then taking a shower and getting ready there (in peace :-)) before running a few errands and picking her up.

And here’s #13! The Third Annual edition of the let’s go to preschool guide from let’s go mommy is now available online! In the let’s go to preschool guide you will find a list of 20 Green Bay area preschools and most of the information you would need to help you with your preschool decision–a description of their program, days/times offered, ages, a link to their website, address, phone number & a Google Maps link. Now you won’t have to call around to 20 different preschools to get this info and compare (because…ain’t nobody got time for that!). It’s all in one place for you. You just have to decide which preschools best fit your needs and go from there to schedule your tour, confirm costs, enroll or etc. I hope this makes your busy life just a little bit easier! (I just have one favor to ask–if you call, visit or enroll in any of the preschools from the list after seeing them here, please let them know you found out about them from let’s go mommy. Thank you!) Click here to go directly to the preschool guide.