Why Vanessa Lachey Put Her Son in Preschool: A 3-Year-Old in School ‘Sounds Crazy’

09/14/2015 at 04:30 PM ET

Family comes first for Vanessa Lachey.

“I think one thing that keeps me sane and grounded is to always remember what my number one priority is, and everything else falls into place,” Lachey told PEOPLE Wednesday at the Truth Be Told event in Beverly Hills, before her appearance on the 2015 Paleyfest Fall TV preview panel for her new show.

“For me, that number one priority is my family. When I put them first, then everything else finds a way to work itself out. Then, I at least know which direction I’m going.”

The actress and husband Nick Lachey, 41, welcomed daughter Brooklyn Elisabeth in January. The couple’s baby girl joined older brother Camden John, 3.

Vanessa Lachey Paley Center Truth Be Told
Joe Scarnici/WireImage

And with two little ones at home, Lachey admits when it comes to choosing projects, if it “pulls me away from my family … then I’m not going to do it.”

“If it’s five days a week in Los Angeles with mornings, nights and weekends off like a regular job, that sounds right for me because I’m putting my family first,” Lachey, 34, explains.

She adds, “I want to be there to wake them up in the mornings. I want to be there to tuck them into bed at night. I want to have the weekends to go to the park, and sit around and watch Saturday cartoons.”

And the mom of two seems to have found the perfect fit. She is starring in NBC’s upcoming comedy Truth Be Told.

“I’m so grateful and appreciative … It is the icing on the cake because if it hadn’t come and it wasn’t meant to be for me, I was pretty content where I was,” Lachey explains. “The fact that I could have this icing on the cake and the cherry on top, is that much more.”

As for her two babies’ most recent milestones?

“Today was Camden’s first day of 3-year-old preschool,” the proud mama shares. “[He goes] for a few hours a day, a few days a week.”

“I think it’s great for his [emotional intelligence], social interacting, delaying gratification, and understanding how to make friends and be patient — that’s why I wanted to do it,” Lachey explains. “Because right now he’s the oldest kid and for a long time he was the only kid.”

Vanessa Lachey Paley Center Truth Be Told
Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort

Lachey admits that before, she “would have never thought to put my 3-year-old in school. That sounds crazy to me.”

But now that she’s a mom to a toddler, Lachey says it “makes sense.”

“Social skills are something you can’t really teach, you just have to experience [it],” she explains. “It’s a couple hours a day that they get social interaction with kids their age.”

She adds, “At 3, they know how to process things, and manipulate and appreciate situations.”

Rise & Grind!!! It's MONDAY! Brooklyn's ready to start her week off right!

A post shared by Vanessa Lachey (@vanessalachey) on

And at only 8 months, the family’s newest addition, baby Brooklyn “is awesome in a totally different, but equally amazing way,” Lachey shares.

“It really is a cheesy epitome of a mother going, ‘I love you both equally, but differently,’ ” she explains. “I want to squeeze both of them until the end of the day — and in different ways, they pull at my heartstrings.”

Truth Be Told premieres on NBC on Oct. 16 at 8:30/7:30 central.

— Mariah Haas

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting , Vanessa Lachey

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Showing 23 comments

Amy Poteat on

Preschool is a great idea for all kids. He’s a handsome little guy.

Katie on

As a teacher I think it’s important to teach them early even if it is just to sit still and quiet and how to interact correctly. It really helps in elementary school. Cute kids.

Callie on

Good for her! I can’t stand when parents keep their children home until first grade and then expect them to know how to socialize and interact with others. The earlier the better to start them off right. I just love this couple. They are so level headed and grounded

Callie on

Their little boy is GORGEOUS and I just want to squeeze the little one 🙂

Tara on

Is she stupid? Most 3 year olds are in school. They need the basic socialization to succeed in school later.

AMy on

Preschool is a pretty normal milestone. I think if you don’t put your kids in preschool-it’s pretty abnormal.

Pnut on

“If it’s five days a week in Los Angeles with mornings, nights and weekends off like a regular job, that sounds right for me because I’m putting my family first,” Lachey, 34, explains.

Mornings, nights, and weekends? So, a job from 11-4? That sounds great.

I’m a preschool teacher. Kids need socialization as young as possible. Even for those who don’t want or need to put their child(ren) in preschool, just a 2x/wk in an environment with children their age, independent from their parents, has a huge impact on social skills. And developmental skills, as well.

xo

sdb on

aw. camden is completely gorgeous! lovely children.

jeannie on

Teachers can usually tell which child has had an early start on some kind of instructional and socialization environment when kindergarten starts. . Kids need that.

M on

Question: I have a 3 year old and I am planning to keep him home this year and then send him to Pre-K 4 full time next year. To those of you who are kind enough to offer some advise: is this okay? Will it harm my child not to go this year? This is my only child (I can’t have anymore). I want to do right by him. I would appreciate any input I can get. Thanks!

guest on

Beautiful babies! And to “M”, try your child part-time this year, then he will have a friend or two that’s already familiar and you can do play dates over the summer. I think it will make full-time transition easier, he will look forward to seeing familiar faces. It’s harder than people think having an “only”, it’s more involved since you’re the playmate a lot of times. Been there, done that. It’s hard to let them go. I cried the first day of school after dropping my daughter off. SHE loved it. Good Luck!

Anonymous on

I’m a preschool teacher and can tell you it is extremely important for children to start even for a few days a week. Socializing is great and as a teacher I can tell if a child has started school on the early side. You’re just giving you kids a head start. Good for her. And Camden is too gorgeous for words!

Anonymous on

M, I think it is important to get your child used to sitting still, interacting with others correctly, and learning how to do basic things. If you don’t send your child to school at three, I suggest you get your child into some type of group (other moms with same age children) for playtime and sit and read, plus maybe a few simple activities like crafts to give them socialization time. I know preschool can be expensive, so this is a great alternative if you have others to meet with and save money, while still helping your child which is really important. Plus READ to your child each day and night. It really helps in the long run, I promise and ask questions that are basic. What color is the boy’s hat? What animal is the girl’s stuffed animal? Best wishes.

stacey on

Good lord, her little boy is her identical twin!

megan on

“and watch Saturday cartoons.”

How is she watching Saturday morning cartoons with the kids, when the broadcast networks have dropped that ?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/09/30/saturday-morning-cartoons-are-no-more/

Anonymous on

M- I think that at the very least you should get your son used to interacting with other children (whether that be through playdates or in some sort of playgroup or mommy and me class). And DEFINITELY make sure you read to him a lot, as another poster has said.

As far as whether to start your son in preschool this year, follow your heart. After all, you know your child better than anyone, and ultimately you will know whether he’s ready or not (not all kids that age are. Some DO need that extra year at home!).

All of that being said, I don’t find it weird at all for a three-year-old to be in preschool. That is the age when most children start, after all. What I DO find a bit odd is TWO-year-olds in preschool. They need mommy and daddy, not school!

mommytoane on

To M, while preschool is nice its not neccessary. If you are worried about social interaction enroll your child in something like swim lessons, art classes and be sure to make lots of play dates. Story hour at your local library is a great way for you to meet other moms with children your son’s age. My daughter didn’t attend preschool, she didn’t attend school until she was almost 6 (cut off dates in our state suck) but she’s now in 8th grade at age 12 (Skipped a grade) and in all the honors and advanced classes her school has to offer (just about all cept gym, health, and some of the little alternative classes). She holds a steay 4.0 gpa and has a lot of friends. In early childhood she had lots of playdates, and we did a sort of “homeschooling” type thing with preschool. By kindergarten she was very advanced…reading, could multiply and divide two digit problems and was all over completely advanced compared to other kids her age. So no, preschool isn’t neccessary, but for some kids its helpful. Specially the kids whos parents aren’t available to do playdates or who don’t spend time with their kids educating them.

life goes on on

Beautiful children, beautiful family.

West on

She seems like a very good mom . They have really cute kids , I think Nick got lucky with her .

Anonymous on

Tara, I actually know many moms who don’t send their kids to preschool at 3. No need to call her stupid.

flyingelectra on

all kids in France go to preschool at age 3 😉 no harm in that
her kids are gorgeous

dawn9476 on

It is pretty common for people in Hollywood and the upper class to put their kids in school at 3 or even younger.

Dayra on

I work at a daycare (my age group is literally called preschool) and some parents drop their kids off for a few hours a day as early as one year old. Putting your 3 year old in preschool is completely normal but make sure you still get to spend some one on one time with them when they’re not in school. I have some kids that spend 11-12 hours at my school and go home, take a bath, eat and go to sleep and get passed off to the babysitter on the weekends