Delaying Kindergarten -- Or Pushing It a Year Early?

Back to School Guide

holding back a grade

Photo by mom.of.2

If my little girl had been born five days earlier, I might be getting ready to send her off to kindergarten in another month. And I'd be getting nervous. She'd have been the youngest in her class, and I'd be going back and forth on whether I'd made the right decision to send her.

I'm glad she missed the cut-off and the decision was made for me. As much as my husband can't wait to get rid of the day care payment -- and even considered asking the school district to make an exception -- I feel she's still very much a toddler, both size and social wise.

Another CafeMom in the Newcomer's Club is going through a "do I hold him back?" debate, but with a 3 year old and preschool.

"My son was born nine days before the cut off," the mom says. "Normally he should be starting preschool this year, and kindergarten next year, but I don't want him to go yet. There will be kids there that are a full year older than him, and I don't want him to be at a disadvantage."

There is no easy answer. It all depends on the child, as Isaacsmom5354, a paraprofessional in pre-K for six years, answered:

"I've seen some kids that were three when they started and were ready, even more than some of the older kids there. But I've also seen younger kids that were definitely not ready for school. You make the decision based on your child and how mature they are and if you think they are ready.

"My friend's son's birthday is August 13, and he is in the 4th grade with my oldest and he is one of the smartest kids in their grade. He is reading on an 8th grade level and he is in the gifted program."

Are you considering holding your tot back from preschool, pre-K or kindergarten? What helped you make the right decision? Your tips wanted ...

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bowli... bowlinghottie

My son was about a month after the cut off and I too was glad that he was able to spend an extra year before going into school. In the Chicago Public Schools, where my son attends, Kindergarten is full-day, which would have been tough for him at just nearly 5 and was pretty easy to adjust to at almost 6.

He probably would have been fine either way, he can skip a grade later in his school career if that is what everyone feels is best, but I think it worked out really well for him to be a little older than some of the other kids in the class.

My biggest fear is that as he gets older, he'll become bored by the things that his "younger" classmates are interested in or working on for class, but we'll cross that bridge when/if it appears.

Tipha... TiphaniMommy

My daughter is not in school. She's being home-schooled by my mother-in-law. Her birthday is in December so she'll also be considered behind. She won't be starting real school until she's 4 (she's two now going on three), unless I can get her in the VPK program at three (which might not happen).

ethan... ethans_momma06

I will be sending my DS to preschool in a year, but my decision has nothing to do with his age. I think that readiness for school should be based on an individual basis, thier behavior, social skills, potty training, and physical capabilities rather then an age restriction.

Children all develope at different levels until we expect them to all be chucked in together for something they might not be ready for just because of age?

Go with your gut, it wont hurt to hold them back a year and can do a world of good. 

aedig... aediger602

My son, now almost 16 made the cut-off by 2 days.  We didn't send him, never have regretted it.  It's not just are they smart enough, but think about when they're in Junior High and are going through puberty after their friends.  I also am glad I have him at home another year.

I've taught for 18 years and can always tell the "young ones" in 7th & 9th grades - especially the boys.

Lastly, I'd rather send a child who was almost 19 to college than one who was almost 18.

justa... justanotherjen

We were living in PA when my son turned day after the cutoff for our school.  They had an absolute no exception policy so there was no debate.  he wasn't ready anyway.  We moved back to Chicago the next summer and he started kindergarten 5 weeks before turning 6.  He's one of the oldest kids in his class (he starts 2nd grade in a few weeks and will be 8 on October 1).  Even if he had met the cut off back then I probably wouldn't have sent him because he just wasn't ready for school at 5.

My oldest daughter has a summer birthday.  She turned 5 (in 2005) about 2 months before starting kindergarten and excelled.  She just turned 9 a month ago and is going into 4th grade.  She is one of the youngest and is the smallest kid in her class (she's very small for her age at only 4' tall and just 45lbs...the size of most of the 2nd graders) but does fine otherwise.  It all depends on the child.

nonmember avatar Megan

As a teacher, I can always tell the ones who are younger. Their emotional development, and sometimes physical, can really play a roll in their success in the classroom. If they're borderline, keep them home on work on their reading readiness!

RyanM... RyanMarie

my daughter is going t o miss prek by 2 months however i will be trying her out in headstart!!

damira damira

my daughter is 3 turning 4 in october and she is starting preschool. I know she will be fine. My son is 2 turning 3 in November and he is starting pre-school. I don't think the curriculum is that challenging at this point and if they can catch up to the rest of their year, that's a good thing. My son and I have the same bday so I was "young" for my grade and I'm so glad I started when I did!

tocre... tocreatefire

As a  EC Teacher I always encourage parents to  look at their child's  development and attend  EC screenings offered in most towns. Also talk to the preschool teacher and the school district.  Our state has a  Dec 31st cut off so children in the same birth year can all go to school together.  While it  really depends on the child my own experience has been that  children born after sept  usually do better staying home or attending another year of preschool before going to kindergarten.  Children born as early as August can also benifit from delaying attendance.


Parent should think about not necessarily now but when children are in Middle School and High School.

Also there is nothing wrong with sending a child and having them held back for a second year of Kindergarten if they aren't ready.  The first year gets them  in the groove and  the second year helps them be ready for the demands of  1st grade.

My DD is a late October birthday and even though developmentally she is ahead for her age now  I am planning on keeping her home an extra year.  Sure it means another year of  daycare costs but I think she will do better in the long run. We still have a few years before she can even go but I am planning on her not going right away.

averi... averinriansmeme

We are homeschooling so daughter will start when shes 4 (turning 5 the next week) we will be starting the same date as the school system.

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