In recent years, a trend of holding youngsters with late birthdays back a year before enrolling them in kindergarten has taken hold. More common among parents of white, affluent boys but growing across the board, reception of this method is mixed. If you have a child whose late birthday will make them one of the youngest in their class, here are ten of the reasons why you might want to consider an extra year of preschool in lieu of kindergarten.
- Social Immaturity – Some children simply aren’t socially prepared for an academic environment, especially if they’re four years old and struggling to keep up with kids that have several months of essential developmental time on them.
- Kindergarten Readiness Screening Results Suggest It – If the results of a kindergarten readiness screening indicates that your child simply isn’t ready for the demands of school, which is quite different from the finger-paints and naptime of our own kindergarten days, it might be best to opt for a bit more preparation before enrolling next year.
- The Teacher Suggests It – Your child’s preschool teacher will be able to tell you if they believe that your child is prepared and up to the challenge of kindergarten. Should the teacher suggest waiting a year and you’re also struggling with the decision, waiting might be the better option.
- You Don’t Feel That Your Child is Ready – No one knows your child like you do. If your parental instincts are telling you that your child needs an extra year of preschool or isn’t prepared for the rigors of kindergarten, it’s probably best to follow that intuition.
- They Lack the Necessary Focus – Some experts are beginning theorize that many children are wrongly diagnosed with ADD and ADHD as a result of being placed in kindergarten classes too soon. When children are at the young end of the spectrum, these abilities aren’t sufficiently developed and may seem to indicate a disorder.
- Sports Performance is Not a Factor – One of the leading but most misguided reasons for parents to hold children back is to ensure that their child is among the biggest and strongest in their class for athletic reasons. If your reasoning for holding your child back is because you have hopes of sports stardom, it might be best to reconsider.
- Your Child Has Some Behavioral Problems – Kids with behavioral problems sometimes outgrow them, and may simply be acting out because they aren’t developed enough for a classroom setting. Waiting until your little one has matured a bit could prevent future visits to the pricipal’s office.
- The School District is Particularly Competitive – While some parents consider it an unfair advantage, in extremely competitive districts or private schools, the extra year can make a significant difference in your child’s academic performance and placement within the class.
- Your Child is Small For His or Her Age – When the youngest child in a class is also the smallest, they may be picked on by bigger kids or subjected to bullying. Giving them an extra year to catch up can prevent some of this torment.
- There Are Severe Separation Problems – Though a few days of meltdowns are a natural part of starting school, kids that are exhibiting severe separation problems may need a few more months of preparation in order to function well in their new school.
The decision to hold your child back can be a very complicated one, and should be discussed at length with teachers and within your home. Doing some research on the pros and cons of redshirting can help you make an informed decision.