5 Huge Signs Your Kid Is Not Ready for Preschool

Wondering if your kid is ready to start preschool?

Super excited to kick start their education, but a little nervous about the timing? 

Not sure if your kid is up for the task just yet?

I know there is so much pressure, especially if you are homeschooling!

Your Kid Is Not Ready for Preschool If…

1. They Are Too Young

You want your kid to have every chance at success, and the earlier you start the better – right?


The typical age for preschool to start is 3 or 4 years old. 

If you are looking to homeschool preschool for your 2-year-old, please do yourself a giant favor and take a deep breath. 

Starting your kid too early with formal education can actually cause a lot of frustration, burnout, and overwhelm for you as both teacher and parent.

Also consider that if you start preschool too early, your child will also be starting kindergarten and 1st grade much earlier than recommended. Those grades will require much more from your child and they will likely not be developmentally ready for it. 

2. They Would Rather Be Playing

Maybe your child is 3 or 4 years old, but getting them to sit down with you to do a lesson of any kind is quite the struggle. 

Your child wants to spring out of their chair and grab just about anything else besides what you are trying to teach in your homeschool preschool. 

Your kid is not being difficult or stubborn – they are clearly showing you that they are not ready for preschool yet. Their little bodies crave action, play, imagination, and gross motor movement!

So much of their future will be spent learning from a chair, you are giving them a huge gift to let them enjoy as much of their carefree childhood as possible.

3. They Struggle to Follow Simple Directions

My mother gifted my oldest child a craft box subscription one year. We were all excited to open it up and get going! 

I quickly discovered that my daughter was not going to listen to a thing I said about the actual directions. She wanted to do it her way and that included something just short of total destruction of the box and its contents. 

She was a good kid, but just not quite ready or mature enough to follow step-by-step directions.

If that sounds like your kid, consider waiting to start homeschooling preschool. The extra time will help tremendously for your child to take full advantage of all the fun and learning coming their way with preschool!

4. They Still Struggle to Communicate Clearly

Do you have difficulty understanding your child? 

Does your child struggle when talking or having a simple conversation with you (or others)?

That may be a sign that they are not quite ready to dig into preschool just yet.

Preschool curriculum is rich with songs, poems, stories, games, and other interactions that your child may not fully enjoy if they are struggling to communicate clearly. 

Consider waiting to begin so that your child is less frustrated and able to enjoy preschool without the added hurdle of communication issues.

5. They Are Too Ready

I was very excited to unbox the homeschool preschool curriculum that I bought for my second child. The first couple of weeks were fun, but not really challenging. There was no “new information.”

I eventually flipped to the back of the book and discovered that she already knew the material in the last week of the curriculum!

The busy, tired mom that I was had managed to meet all the preschool objectives by just reading books, doing life together, and going outside. 


Take a look at what the preschool objectives are and make sure that you haven’t already overshot it with all the educational books and quality time you’ve spent together.

My Experience With Preschool, Homeschool Preschool, and No Preschool

I was personally ecstatic when my first kid started preschool. She was 3 years old, and she went 2 days a week.

At the time, I thought preschool was essential to her future success. She enjoyed going, but I realized over the years that so much of it was glorified daycare with an educational craft. I could have easily done it at home and not paid hundreds of dollars every month.

With my second child, I decided to homeschool preschool (this was my initial experiment to see if homeschooling was even possible). As I said earlier, I quickly discovered that educational books, LeapFrog DVDs, and basic quality time with my child was more than enough to cover the preschool basics.

I decided to continue as we were and wait to start kindergarten until my child was 5 years old (which allowed her to mature and develop for kindergarten tasks).

For my third kid, I planned to skip preschool also. But she begged me for school work to do alongside her siblings, so I ended up purchasing some preschool-style workbooks and having her tag along with her sisters’ lessons. 

She has soared and I could not be happier with how she’s doing in kindergarten now. 

Want to know more about how we handle preschool in my homeschool? Check out Why I Quit Homeschool Preschool for all the details, what I do instead, and updates on how my kids are doing

When To Homeschool Preschool

I approached it differently with all three of my kids and all of them are doing well in what is now 5th grade, 2nd grade, and kindergarten.

The takeaway for me is that you have to read your individual child’s needs and customize their preschool experience accordingly. 

One of my kids loved going to a traditional preschool. The other child skipped preschool altogether and played all day. The last child wanted workbooks and soaked up teaching like a sponge. 

And all three are doing well!

Look at your child and be really honest with yourself about where they are at.

  • Are they ready to dive into preschool headfirst?
  • Would they like to run in the opposite direction?
  • Can they follow simple directions?
  • Can you have basic conversations with them?
  • Are they possibly beyond preschool work?
  • Are you pushing to start a little too early?

Take the answers to those questions and customize your kid’s education goals!

If They Are Not Ready For Preschool Yet…

That is okay!

Spend your time focusing on reading aloud (so important!) to your child, going outside, exploring, crafting, talking, baking, and having lots of park playdates!

When they are ready to start formal preschool, they will be primed to start! And it will be because you were wise and patient enough to wait.

Lauren Schmitz

About the author

Lauren was originally a reluctant homeschooler who pulled her child from public school with no idea what was going to happen. Years later she is successfully and joyfully homeschooling her three daughters - no one is more surprised than her! Lauren is passionate about helping other families get started with homeschooling and encouraging them on their journey.

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  1. Thanks so much for talking about the warning signs that your kid isn't ready for preschool. My sister is wanting to start her kid in preschool and she wants to make sure he's ready so that it does get too overwhelming. We've been looking into different schools and seeing what might fit him best.

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