I’m Not Sending My 3-Year-Old to Preschool…Yet. Here’s Why

As a stay-at-home mom of two littles, I’m often asked when I plan to send my oldest to preschool. The truth is, I don’t know when — or if — I’ll send her. Don’t get me wrong. As a former teacher, I absolutely believe there are many benefits to enrolling children in a preschool program. As a full-time mom, I also know what’s best for my daughter. For right now — at least for right now — it’s being with me.

At just about 3 years old, my daughter is seeing the world open up to lots of new possibilities. She suddenly qualifies for summer day camps, parents’ nights out at our local kids’ gym, and all sorts of drop-off programs. Because of this, preschool might seem like a given for many mothers of preschool-aged children. But we’re just not there yet. And that’s okay. Let me explain why.

Why My 3-Year-Old Is Still Home With Me

Here’s why I’m not quite yet sending my 3-year-old daughter to preschool:

It Works for Our Family

More than anything, my 3-year-old is still home with me because it works for us. Logistically speaking, preschool is pricey. Since I’m already home pouring into my children and family full-time, preschool isn’t a necessity for us. Not to mention, my daughter has unique dietary needs that require careful attention throughout the day. Being the one to care for (and feed) her gives us all peace of mind. Plus, we can designate the money not spent on a 3s classroom program toward other activities that fill my daughter’s cup. Having both of my children home with me right now just makes sense for our family. It’s a win-win.

I Get to Curate Daily Experiences for My Daughter

By being home rather than in a preschool classroom, my 3-year-old can join her younger brother and me for days filled with adventure and memory-making. On any given weekday morning, you might find us at the science museum, play cafe, zoo, or park — among many other favorite spots. We also keep busy with ballet classes, library storytime, and regular playdates. I love curating daily experiences for my kiddos, and I’m taking full advantage of the ability to do so while I can.

My Daughter is Still Thriving Socially

People often claim preschool is critical for socialization. While that might be the case for some children and families, I’m here to say that my daughter is at no disadvantage socially by staying home with me a bit longer. If anything, she’s exposed daily to a wonderful variety of people of all ages (and in many different settings).

Apart from our typical kid-centric adventures, we do regular, old, everyday life together. Whether that consists of shopping at the grocery store, FaceTiming with grandparents, or tagging along for another family member’s doctor appointment, my preschooler gets no shortage of interaction with others. She’s also able to build a special bond with her baby brother day in and day out. She’s thriving socially!

She Is Still Learning, Playing, and Growing

I’m a firm believer that play is the work of the child. And even if it weren’t? I’m an educator by trade and find great joy in preparing learning activities for my children. My preschooler being home with me doesn’t mean she’s sitting around watching cartoons all day (although I’m not against using a bit of screen time as a tool for all of our sanity on occasion). She’s still learning, playing, and growing every single day. In keeping my 3-year-old home with me, I get to ensure she’s learning in a way that works best for her.

The Days Are Long, but the Years Are Short — I Want To Savor Every Moment With My Children

Staying home with my two tiny humans — including my 3-year-old, who is still very much my baby — allows me the precious opportunity to soak in every single fleeting moment with them while they’re still little. While I do sometimes wonder if I’m making the right call, my heart always reminds me that, yes, I absolutely am . . . at least for right now. We keep busy doing the important work of childhood, but we also make room for rest and relaxation as needed. And the option to do so — freely and unapologetically — is something I don’t take for granted.

Partial side view of 3 year old daughter smiling at camera as her 26 year old mother holds her and expresses love and affection.

My 3-Year-Old Won’t Be 3 Forever

Choosing when to send a kiddo to preschool can be a highly personal decision. For some, there’s no other option. For others, it’s not an option. And for me? It’s simply the best-case scenario for my family — at least for now.

My 3-year-old won’t be this little forever. Nor will she be for much longer. So, for now, I’m sending my 3-year-old to preschool. And that’s okay. Because you know what? We’re perfectly content continuing to spend our days together. And I’m clinging to these days.

At least for right now.