The Ridiculous Preschool Promise No Parent Should Buy

preschool graduationPreschool is fabulous. Make no mistake. I sent both of my kids to preschool, where they did fascinating art projects and made adorable little friends and sang cute little songs and, in all seriousness, learned lots of useful life-skills. I'm very happy that they went to preschool, and have no doubt that it did them a world of good.

Do I, however, think their time spent in preschool is going to guarantee them good jobs as adults? Or keep them out of jail?

No, I don't.

According to recent study, those are two of the long-term benefits associated with sending a child to preschool -- a successful career and not ending up behind bars.

I'm not saying there's no correlation whatsoever. But studies like these beg the question ...

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Which came first, the good parenting intentions or the hours spent finger-painting?

Okay, not my best analogy. What I'm trying to say here is, can we really conclude that the experience of preschool alone is responsible for these incredibly far-reaching results? Or perhaps there's a different, simpler explanation for why the kids in the study succeeded. Maybe the fact that the parents were invested enough in their children's day-to-day development to send them to preschool in the first place is an indication of their investment level as parents overall.

Or, to simplify further, if you really want your kid to be a happy, or at least non-incarcerated, adult, just be a good parent.

It just bugs me that all the research done on how to make sure your kids turn out okay focus on details that, in and of themselves, aren't going to make or break a human being. All of these pieces of the puzzle -- preschool, good nutrition, enriching positive activities, discipline -- they all link back to the same thing: Good parenting. Kids do well because they have parents who try their best as parents.

What do you do for your kids now to help them grow into successful adults?


Image via Scott Catron/Flickr

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