Holding your child back in Kindergarten

United States
March 20, 2009 8:59am CST
I have a 3 year old son. He was born on November 24 which is a week before the cutoff with school. Right now he is in nursery school and I already signed him up for Pre-K. He is seriously the baby of the class. All the kids are already 4 or is about to turn 4. The teacher said academically he is one of the smartest. My question is Do you think I should start him in kindergarten with his age group or should I hold him back another year so hes the oldest rather than the youngest. He is a smart kid and I dont think he will have any problems keeping up but I am more concerned about his maturity level compared to the other kids. WHat is your opinion on holding children back
6 people like this
25 responses
@sassy28 (835)
• United States
20 Mar 09
Both of my children have summer birthdays, so they are the youngest in their classes. They are in 2nd and 4th grade. Both of their grades are very good, the only thing is my 7 year old I can tell he is a little more immature than the other kids in his class. I think that will work out and my 9 year old is just fine. Someone else posted it just depends on your child. If you see that there is a problem keep them back in either pre-k or kindgergarten. That would be easier on them, than waiting until they getting older and realize you should have held them back.
• United States
20 Mar 09
Thanks for sharing.. They say boys are more immature than girls and being the youngest in the class scares me alittle. I guess I will see how he does in Pre-K
1 person likes this
@ravinskye (8243)
• United States
20 Mar 09
I think it depends on the child. If he is ready to go to kindergarten and knows what he needs to know then go ahead and let him go. If you think he would do better holding him back then hold him back. Only you know your child. I'm surprised your cut off is so late. Around our area you have to be 5 by the end of August to get into kindergarten. My daughter was born September 13th. So she did preschool and was the first in her class to turn 5. Now she is in kindergarten this year and she is doing great.
2 people like this
• United States
20 Mar 09
thanks for your response.. I wish our cut off was Auguse. That is so much better
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Mar 09
Personally i wouldn't hold him back. Maturity comes with experience and learning. unless he has a learning disability that compromises his ability to advance in an educational manner then i would say hes fine. every child matures at a different rate. dont baby him, let him learn like we all did.
1 person likes this
@laglen (19782)
• United States
21 Mar 09
let him learn like we all did. Were you stuck in preschool or nursery school? I wasn't, thank goodness.
• United States
21 Mar 09
actually... i had to repeat Kindergarten. the nature of my hyperactivity demanded it. ADHD with a learning disability in reading comprehension...also classified as a risk taker. not seeing the point in your question however.
• United States
21 Mar 09
Thank you for your advice and sharing
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
20 Mar 09
That really depends on the child. But normally that doesn't matter much, especially at that age. He is bright and will be able to keep up. I would be worried, if he would academically not match up well. But that is not the case with your son. Don't worry about it. Here in my state, he would have been born past the cut off. Here it's October 31st. My middle one had a child in her pre-school in the 3-year-old class who was born in December, so he wasn't three yet, when he started. He was still a bit playful and had trouble following directions at times, but he was the tallest kid in class. Only a few moms knew that he was by far the youngest. Due to school rules he had to repeat the 3-year-old class before moving on to the 4-year-old class, because he was born after the cut off date. That wouldn't be a problem for you, since your son is born before the cut off.
1 person likes this
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
20 Mar 09
Forgot to add, I was held back, well sort of. I was born a day after the cut off and still could have started, because I passed the knowledge test. But my parents decided against it. I felt out of place with my class and my entire school life wished I could have started school a year earlier. It's not always great to be the oldest.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Mar 09
I really wish there was an ealier cut off. Dec 1st is just so late.
1 person likes this
@deebomb (15323)
• United States
20 Mar 09
When my grandson was 5 and at the age to start kindergarten I went to register him. the teacher told us that they would test the kids to see if they were ready to start school if the parents wanted them to. I decided it might e a good idea because being ready for school was the same as learning to walk. Not all kids are ready at the same age. They suggested we wait a year. We did and it made a big difference in his maturity and being ready to learn. His sister was 2 years older then he is and we sent her to school at the age of 5 and she had a lot of problems focusing so she was held back in the first grade and that helped. Both kids were really smart and learned easily but were not mature enough to have the focus needed for the school setting. so if I were you I would wait a year. starting too early really doesn't put a child ahead.
• United States
20 Mar 09
I am not sure if he is tested before Kindergarten but He will be evaluated(which may be a testing) so I guess I will see how that turns out. Thanks for sharing
1 person likes this
@irishidid (8521)
• United States
20 Mar 09
Keep him back and wait. I'm speaking from experience on this. I went ahead and started my son in school and he ended up having to take the first grade twice. It was a maturity thing with him too. Look at it this way, when he turns four the other kids are going to be older and he's going to be at a disadvantage.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Mar 09
Thank you for sharing. I do believe maturity will be an issue. Thanks again
1 person likes this
@blueunicorn (2409)
• United States
20 Mar 09
My husband and I had this struggle with our youngest daughter. Academically she was definitely ready to start Kindergarten early. However, I was concerned about the maturity level as well. I talked to a lot of teachers, and we decided to wait the extra year to have her start Kindergarten. I think it was the best decision I've ever made! Being one of the older children gives her confidence. The Kindergarten year may not be such a big deal, but as they move up in grades it does seem to matter. Especially since boys mature slower, I think you would see a difference as your son gets older. My husband and I both have birthdays in that gray area, and we both started early. We have always said that we both feel we missed something on the social side of things. We both did alright on the academic side, but there was a difference for our social development.
• United States
20 Mar 09
Maturity is my main concern. I guess we will see how he does next year in pre-K and see what the teachers think. Thanks for responding
1 person likes this
@laglen (19782)
• United States
21 Mar 09
I think he should be home with you. Not nursery school or preschool. Keep him home until kindergarten. Who do you want instilling values in your child? Who better than you. Don't rush him out. He is most likely smart because of you. Keep him home and work on that!
@Jennlk84 (4219)
• United States
21 Mar 09
Children can learn a lot from their parents but at the Pre-K level children really benefit from the social aspects of preschool.
• United States
21 Mar 09
First of all Nursery school is 2 days a week 2 1/2 hours a day. So he is still home with me alot. 2nd of all I had a hard time sending him but there is only so much a parent can teach them. Since my son started nursery school his social behavior has been incredible. He is alot more independent. He needed to hang with other kids his age.. Thank you for sharing
1 person likes this
@MaryLynn321 (2680)
• United States
20 Mar 09
I didn't hold my son back so he was one of the youngest in his class. If my son was answering this discussion, he would say, hold him back. There is no harm in another year of nursery school. Good luck to you.
• United States
21 Mar 09
Thank you for sharing
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Mar 09
You are very welcome.
• United States
20 Mar 09
My sister and I both had to consider this question when sending our kids to school. We raised them to be kind to others and then it was hard for them to handle all the fighting and nasty stuff. A lot of times we only consider the maturity level question when first putting our children in school. Consider the maturity question as they also get older. We held back both of our kids. They both started kindergarten at six years old. It is interesting that they both went through hard times as any kid does. I did notice that in the higher grades they had more maturity when inappropriate ideas were put before them and they handled situations in a more mature way. Holding them back was not easy because they were both very tall for their age. Observe how your son handles social situations. It won't be perfect but this may give you a clue. On the flip side, I started kindergarten when I was 4 and graduated high school when I was just 17 and had a learning disability to boot. Everyone is different. Let your heart guide you.
• United States
21 Mar 09
Good for you..that year to grow is a blessing with some children
• United States
21 Mar 09
Thank you for sharing.. I was the youngest in my class as well. I graduated when I was 17 years old and I think I did ok. I am also a girl and they say we do better with maturity than boys. I guess I will see how he does in Pre-K
@ersmommy1 (12600)
• United States
20 Mar 09
You should follow your heart and gut on this one. My daughter has a birthday in July. Which makes her the youngest in her class. And she went through the pre-school and pre-k classes with the same teacher. My daughter has been described as the social butterfly. Academically she is doing terrific. And socially as well. Her biggest difficulty is closing her mouth and opening her ears.
• United States
21 Mar 09
And that will be fixed with age
• United States
21 Mar 09
I have to laugh because I would have to say that closing my sons mouth is probably his biggest problem. He is very social... Has a little problem with sharing here and there but hey he is 3 right? Thanks so much for responding
• Canada
21 Mar 09
Here in Canada, where I am our cut off is January 31st. I have 3 end of the year babies, two in October (23 & 24) and one December baby (10th) They all started at 4 years old. I haven't had any regrets in doing so, at least academically. However even though they were ready to do the work required of them there was also the social aspect of school. with at least one of my children that started earlier, I wished that I would have waited until she was older. She is the youngest in the class, and now in grade 6 is more in a "following" kind of situation. She is willing to do almost anything to get the older girls in the class to like her, and can't always relate to them. The only saving grace has been the split grades (she is in a 5/6 split) as well as an amazing teacher! I think you have to consider for yourself, whether 1) He is ready academically; 2) Whether he is ready socially (not just can he get along with kids but can he make age appropriate choices as the youngest of a classroom? Will he be a natural follower because he is the youngest?) and the third thing I would ask is 3) What would it hurt for him to go to nursery school for one more year? I think it would give him a bit of an advantage academically, and it will let him catch up chronologically, and to me I think that socially, it would leave him in a better position.
• Canada
21 Mar 09
Reading it it sounds funny to think of kids as followers at such a young age, but if he starts as the youngest in a class, in all likelihood he will be the youngest in the class still in high school as well, and the upper grades is where being the youngest in class is going to impact him the most. Like my oldest is now in Grade 9, all his friends are in Drivers education, he has to wait until next year, that sets him apart automatically....how do they handle those types of social situations when their peer group that they have grown with through school are older? There are other exampless...but I hope I have conveyed to you what I am meaning.
• United States
21 Mar 09
In my township the cut-off is Columbus Day, which is when I was due to be born. I ended up coming out on Sept 13, well before the cut-off. My mom also had to make this decision and I think she made the right one of getting me into school right away. I was the youngest in my classes growing up and was the last to do everything i.e drivers license. I was not jealous, it just made me more anxious for when it was my turn. So to answer your question, I do not believe you should hold your child back a year, if you see in the future that he is struggling or having difficulty grasping a certain subject, then explain why he needs to spend one more year in a grade level.
• United States
21 Mar 09
thank you so much for sharing
@getnbuy (1315)
• United States
21 Mar 09
Ask the teacher if he is emotionally mature enough to start kindergarten. children who start at the bottom of the class age-wise often suffer because they have not developed the social skills to cope. The teacher should be able to tell. If she thinks he would do better it would not hurt to hold him back. On the other hand you do not want him to be so far ahead intellectually, that he becomes bored. so, the teacher is the best judge, I would say.
• United States
21 Mar 09
thanks for your advice
@lynnemg (4539)
• United States
21 Mar 09
When I was little, my Birthday was only 3 days after the cot-off, and Mom had no choice but to hold me back a year. I was just as smart if not more so than the other kids, but I couldn't go to Kindergarten because of my age. I think that you may find yourself in the same situation once it is tiome for Kindergarten. Pre-K is a little different in many places and will take younger kids too, they just end up in the class for 2 years instead of one. If you have to hold him back, he will adjust. I am sure there will be times when he wonders why he is older than the other kids, but if you explain it to him as you go, he'll be just fine.
• United States
21 Mar 09
Thank you for responding
@Jennlk84 (4219)
• United States
21 Mar 09
I am a Pre-K teacher and in my experience I can definitely tell which children are truly ready for Kindergarten and those who are not. Age doesen't always mean a lot in a group full of Pre-K kids. I actually had a student this year that came to me as the youngest child and she is the smartest in the whole class. She has been reading since this past fall and has just blown me away. I honestly think that if he is ready that you should go ahead and send him. You don't want him to be in the following year's Kindergarten class not being challenged because he's already been doing what they're now learning. Just my honest opinion. :-) and it's coming from a Pre-K that is actually certified in elementary. So I know Pre-K very well and I'm also very familiar with the elementary grades.
• United States
21 Mar 09
Thank you for your advice.
@Jae2619 (1484)
• United States
21 Mar 09
I was in your shoes a while back. My son started 4k at 3 because our cut off is 1st of September, and my son was born August 12th. When he started 4k, school started on the 8th of August, so he is always the youngest in his class. He's also the most advanced, and in the gifts programs at his school. He's now in the first grade and is 6, where all the other kids in his class are already 7, and some are going on 8. I feel if your child is emotionally ready, for kindergarten send him on to school. You are the only one that can make that choice, because you know how your child handles things, like sharing, following rules, and such. With my son, I worried about his emotions at first, and our school gave us the option to try it out and if we felt he wasnt' ready we could pull him out, because 4k isn't required, so that might be an option for you, ask your school administrators. The only thing that worries me as my child moves up in grade levels, is how young he is gonna be when he is in highschool, he'll be graduating at such a young age, kinda scares me, lol.
• United States
21 Mar 09
Thank you so much for sharing and your advice
• United States
20 Mar 09
I think you should hold him back at a later date. If he is really talented, he will be able to use the extra year when he is older to study or to participate in activities. Perhaps delay high school for one year and let him spend a year at a science and math institute? But that's just my opinion. With a smart kid you really can't go wrong. Best wishes
• United States
21 Mar 09
Thank you for your opinion and for responding
@Archie0 (4669)
20 Mar 09
He is smart so i dont think you should keep him back. he is doing well as you said so not matter, he will do good. and being young is infact good i say, because he will be done with his academics early than others. and stay younger later.lol well he will not have any problems because my friends are 3 years younger they are now almost with me and completing the post graduation at my school.
• United States
21 Mar 09
Thanks for sharing
• United States
20 Mar 09
I think that it all depends on how mature he is compared to other kids and also if he will be playing sports in highschool. If he isnt as mature as some of the kids later on like in highschool then he may be looked down upon by his peers. If you hold him back then he would have a chance to be as mature as the rest of the people in his grade. The larger problem however is sports. If he goes into highschool to try to make a sports team then him being a year older could give him an unfair advantage. What you feel is the most important component though.
• United States
21 Mar 09
Thanks for sharing.. That sports thing is the thing my husband always talks about..He doesnt want him having disadvantages with sports