42 answers

Redshirting My Kindergartener...

Hi Mamas! Long time, no type! Quick update- we were able to sell the house in NY and move to FL. I was offered a great job and we are settled into my hometown and loving it! No more snow!!

Now, on to the question...

My son is a late May birthday and is eligible for Kindergarten in August. In NY, the "cut off" date is 12/1. Here in FL it is 9/1. We have toured/tested at several private schools, one of which mentioned that me may be better redoing Pre-K due to his birth date as well as his physical size and overall maturity. I am really struggling with this because he is incredibly bright. My husband is 100% behind the idea, as he doesn't want him to be the "runt" for the rest of his life. My hesitations are pretty straightforward in that I don't want him to have to explain to people why he's a "year older, but wasn't retained... just started Kindergarten a year later" forever.

I really want your feedback here as mothers, educators, grandmothers, father, etc. Did you hold your child out of K for a year? How did it work out? What were your deciding factors? Would you do it again? Did you send a "summer birthday" to K? How did it work out?

This has been on our minds quite a bit in the last week or so. Just looking for some non-family opinions. For what it's worth, my father was 4 when he went to K and STILL (at nearly 60) talks about how he wishes he had an extra year to grow up before going and my mother thinks we're jumping the gun.

Thanks!

ADDED: We crossed off the school that recommended holding him back without assessing his skills. That did not sit well with me at all, but the idea hadn't crossed our minds in NY but here in South FL it seems pretty common to start boys with May-August birthdays a year late.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

We spoke about this at length last night and we are going to go ahead and enroll him in Kindergarten. We have 7 full months to work on his independence and maturity and having spoken with the principal we know that we can always change our mind regarding placement right up until the end of July.

Featured Answers

If his bday is in May and he is 5 in may there is no question in my mind that he should be in Kinder in the fall. If it doesn't go well he can always repeat Kinder but lets not assume he will fail or not be able to excel in kinder off the bat.

5 moms found this helpful

I would definitely send him. If need be, he can re-do Kinder. Has more to gain by redoing K than preschool.

5 moms found this helpful

He will be 5 in May?
I would send him to school. If he is intellectually ready, send him. If you hold him back he may end up way ahead of his class all through school and then be bored in school and become the class clown or troublemaker.

As far as being 'the runt' I think that is a horrible thing to think about him. Right now he may be physically smaller than the rest of the kids but a lot of that is genetics. My youngest son was a little guy until 8th grade when he grew about a foot all in one school year.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers

If his birthday was a few days before the cut-off I could see the hesitation, but he's going to be 5 for four full months before the cut-off. And you say he's bright. That means that if you hold him out he'll probably be intellectually ready for kindergarten, but stuck doing preschool stuff. There are a lot of parents who wish they hadn't held their kids out cause their kids got turned off in preschool or in kinder because they were bored. If you had a major worry about his maturity, or his skills readiness, then consider holding him out. But if he's a typical 4.5 year old boy who can barely sit still, only follows directions when he wants to, etc... then send him. He'll be better off with his peers.

My twin girls were born in May as well, and went to kindergarten at age 5. They're somewhat in the middle of the group in terms of age. And they know exactly how old every other kids is and told me within the first week which two kids were already six. I know I shouldn't have, but I wondered what was wrong with the two kids to have their parents keep them out a year. It was just my first reaction. Don't force your son into a situation where other parents might think he's not smart enough or well behaved enough to go to school with all the other kids his age.

7 moms found this helpful

I think you should base it on his maturity. To be honest, he makes the cutoff so easily that holding him back seems to start an arms race in a way. No one wants their child to be the youngest or smallest so I think it's all creeping back so that next thing, kids with a Feb bday will be held back. But it's justifiable if your son's maturity really isn't there and I'd use the teacher's input on that. They know best. If he is incredibly bright, I'd hesitate to hold him back though bc K is pretty easy most places so he should easily be suitable for the class. I've helped in K and 1st grade for 2 years and there are some boys who are more fidgety etc but when they're really smart, it's not a problem so much bc they're doing the work just fine. I think they'd be very bored being held back as they're already ahead academically. Being bored can cause behaviour problems too. If he's small and likely to always be small, I'm not sure how holding back helps that much. He'll have to get used to that at some point. If it's likely he'll have a growth spurt, then it'll happen anyway. The kids in our school range in size enormously and doesn't seem to be a problem for any of them.

6 moms found this helpful

Actually, the evidence shows that holding kids back who don't academically need to be held back is detrimental to them in the long term. Even if children are slightly immature, being around kids who are slightly older is beneficial to them (forces them to "up their game" so to speak). Kids who are the younger ones in their classes go on to complete more higher education (higher percentage of graduate degrees) and on average earn more money over their lifetimes. So there's strong evidence that you should NOT hold a child back unless there is a compelling academic need to do so.

My girls are both young for their grades. My oldest has a mid-September birthday, so she's one of the youngest in her class. My youngest has a June birthday, and is actually one year ahead in school. Both girls are well-liked by their peers and have lots of friends. They have always had straight As.

Likewise, my husband and I both have mid-October birthdays and were always the youngest in our respective classes. Neither of us ever had any academic or social problems, and speaking for myself, since I was used to working hard and applying myself academically, I was able to get scholarships to a great private high school and then to an Ivy League university.

Bottom line, if you think your child can do it, he can and he will. Kids will live up to our expectations, positive or negative. Don't listen to the naysayers, and encourage him. He will thrive in school.

6 moms found this helpful

I would definitely send him. If need be, he can re-do Kinder. Has more to gain by redoing K than preschool.

5 moms found this helpful

If his bday is in May and he is 5 in may there is no question in my mind that he should be in Kinder in the fall. If it doesn't go well he can always repeat Kinder but lets not assume he will fail or not be able to excel in kinder off the bat.

5 moms found this helpful

He will be 5 in May?
I would send him to school. If he is intellectually ready, send him. If you hold him back he may end up way ahead of his class all through school and then be bored in school and become the class clown or troublemaker.

As far as being 'the runt' I think that is a horrible thing to think about him. Right now he may be physically smaller than the rest of the kids but a lot of that is genetics. My youngest son was a little guy until 8th grade when he grew about a foot all in one school year.

4 moms found this helpful

I think it's just sad for kids to not be with kids their own age. He's not going to enjoy being with kids that will be on a totally different academic level within a year or two. My grandson was held back in 1st grade due to absences. He was so bored by 3rd and 4th grade. They did some extra classes and moved him up to his age group.

Just because your son is small is no reason to hold him back a year and put him with kids a whole year younger than he is.

There will be younger kids in his class. Lots of kids are born in the summer.

4 moms found this helpful

Your son's birthday is in MAY. He has a full three months (plus part of May) before the cutoff. Kindergarten is designed for FIVE year olds, not six year olds, and certainly not kids who will be SEVEN before the end of the school year. He will not be four when he starts school like your father was. He will be five and will have been five for awhile. May is not a summer birthday.

I feel very strongly about this and I don't mean to sound rude, but I think the process of holding kids back is getting more and more ridiculous as parents with spring babies are now holding them. Also, if your son is as small as you say he is, he will be one of the smallest kids in the class a year from now too. Unfortunately, that's just the way it goes. I was a TINY kid growing up and always looked to be about 3-4 years younger than I was. That's life and being a year behind in school wouldn't have mattered - I'd still have been one of the shortest kids. When my son went for his five year checkup, he was taller and heavier than I was at my eight year checkup (my mom has all my old stats).

Please send your five year old to kindergarten. The people I know who debated it last year and decided to send their kids are SO happy they did and feel they really would have regretted holding them back a year (my son is in kinder this year and many of his friends faced this decision last year - all but two, both with September birthdays, sent their kids to school).

If people only think your son is young until he starts speaking, and then they realize he is obviously older and just small, he is ready for kindergarten. He is also still going to be sensitive a year from now. Holding him back a year is not going to make him significantly taller, nor will it change his personality.

ETA: I should have noted that my son's birthday is also at the end of May, so age-wise, I was in the exact same place as you. Holding him never even crossed my mind for a second.

You also say he's incredibly bright. Think about how bored he's going to be when he's seven years old and learning one letter a week in kindergarten with a bunch of five year olds.

4 moms found this helpful

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.