Repeating a Grade: What to Expect

Kim Conte

back to school guiderepeating a grade

Some kids need to repeat a grade level. It's a tough decision, but sometimes holding a child back is necessary to help them perform better in school.

Pagirl71 never regretted her decision to have her daughter repeat 1st grade. Here, she tells us about the experience and suggested some ways to cope if your kids are held back.

CM: Why did you decide to have your daughter repeat a grade?

It was our decision to have her repeat 1st grade because the school district didn't believe in holding students back until 3rd grade. I told them it was wasted years in school, and that I'd rather her repeat it now before she knows staying back is bad.

One reason for holding her back was her maturity: The cut-off date in our school was Oct. 31. She turned 5 on Oct. 25, so it was close.

Another reason was that she had a bad teacher. She gave no homework, no projects, never tested them, and my daughter said all they do is play with puzzles and games all day. I'm not sure if that last part was true, but we felt my daughter wasn't given a real grade. So we chose to hold her back. And I have never questioned that once.

Did repeating a grade help her to improve academically?

Yes. She's an honors/college prep student in high school now, so she's doing pretty well.

Did it affect her socially?

No, she made friends easily and still hung out with other friends that went ahead. She only took grief from one kid.

Is this topic sometimes sensitive for kids and parents?

I think it's easier on the child if they repeat a lower grade than say a grade in middle or high school: The school pecking order isn't very well-established at the lower grades...We have always been open about keeping her back, and she'll tell people that she repeated a grade. We never let her think it was because she was bad or that was a punishment, but instead something we felt was a necessity.

As a parent, what can you do to best help your child who is repeating a grade?

Let them know it's for their own good and not a punishment. We also don't let her siblings harass her about it, or use it against her when she gets bad grades (i.e. if your grades don't improve we'll just hold you back again!).

Thank you to Pagirl71 for sharing her family's experience!

If you decided to have a child repeat a grade, what was your experience like? Are you happy with decision?

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