Child on tablet

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

NEW YORK —  Forget nap time; playtime is what’s stressing parents out! A new survey shows that nearly six in 10 parents of preschoolers worry about their child’s development and whether they’re ready for kindergarten.

The top concerns? Making friends and sharing (50%), clear communication (49%), and expressing themselves well (47%). The poll of 2,000 parents of children ages five and younger reveals several challenges they face to support their children’s development, including creating a routine (38%), teaching positive behaviors (30%), planning activities (25%), providing a consistent environment (23%) and building early literacy and math skills (23%).  

Commissioned by Primrose Schools and conducted by OnePoll, the study shows a large majority (98%) of parents understand the importance the first five years of life play in a child’s development and future successes. Parents also shared the earliest ages they believed their children could learn important skills and concepts. For example, some parents believe their children should be able to interact with peers, learn language skills, and learn social skills by age two.

By age three, parents believe their children should be able to start benefitting from formal learning activities and grasp academic concepts. Over half of parents surveyed (55%) say their concerns about their children’s development are worrisome enough to keep them up at night.  

infographic on different areas of concerns for parents about their child's development.

“In the first five years of a child’s life, parents have an opportunity to maximize the power and potential of this critical time,” says spokesperson Amy Jackson, chief early learning strategy officer at Primrose Schools, in a statement. “It’s clear that parents want their children to learn these important academic and character development skills while their brains are most receptive to learning, but we know many worry about finding the right approach.” 

When it comes to support systems for parents, 82 percent consider preschools to be a part of their support systems — alongside immediate family (88%), extended family (37%), and friends (33%). When looking at preschools, parents say they look for a safe place where their child can feel like they belong (28%), qualified teachers invested in their child’s development (24%), and kindergarten readiness (15%). 

When parents are not consulting their support system, 73 percent will at least occasionally consult the internet for parenting advice instead. However, 43 percent say they feel “overwhelmed” by what they find online. 

“Support systems are important for new parents, especially during their child’s first five years of life,” continues Jackson. “The experiences and connections children have in these early years will shape their academic, physical and social-emotional development — ultimately forming their foundation for learning and who they become.”  

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 American parents of children aged 0 to 5 was commissioned by Primrose Schools between Feb. 22 and Feb. 26, 2024. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

About Patrisha Antonaros

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1 Comment

  1. Emory Kendrick says:

    Good Lord! When I was a kid, parents sent kids to kindergarten. There was no angst about development or if we were ready. Nobody died.