15 answers

Kindergarten Readiness and Summer Birthdays

My son who just turned 5 in July is suppossed to start Kindergarten in 2 weeks. My husband is having second thoughts and NOT becasue he isn't ready now (we both agree he would probably do fine this year). His preschool teacher said "send him" and so did the entering kindergarten teacher. Our son is a second child, likes to learn, interacts well socially and emotionally. The K teacher also said that out of 29 kids in her class, 8 would be the same age as Ryan or 2-3 months younger. 5/29 have Fall birthdays and would be 9 months older than our son. However, we are worried about the long term effects that "might" develop later on down the line as academics get harder, competition with kids that are 9 months to a year older, etc. Are we crazy to wait another year if teachers say yes to sending him now? Have any of you sent a summer birthday child who seemed ready at the time, but then later ran into maturity/academic issues?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you SO much for all the input fellow moms. After many more late night discussions and additional valuable input from the entering kindergarten teacher, my husband and I are sending our son to Kindergarten this fall. We told him this morning on our way home from our last summer vacation, and he's thrilled. Thank you again for all your incredible input. This was my first time trying mama source and it was a great experience. I can't wait to tell others.
Sincerely,
K.

Featured Answers

All kids are different, if you really feel he is ready, I'd say send him. My daughter's birthday is in October and I had her start kindergarten at 4. Now she is 5, starting 1st grade in two weeks. She is fine and loves school and all of the homework. We are also in a school district/community that emphasizes academics.

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K.,
I understand your worry about putting your child in Kindergarten early. My son has a late September birthday and I went through the same thing. He was socially ready but I wasn't sure about academically. The teachers thought he would do fine but I had friends that told me that being a boy that he would eventually get behind. Well, he is my best student (the only boy) and I am so glad that I put him in when I did. He is also very tall and would have looked like the goofy tall kid if I had held him back that year. I say go for it, my son never had a problem and he is now going to be 12 and in 8th grade. The only thing that would make me do otherwise is that he plays sports and playing in high school a year later would maybe help him. We are moving this year so I gave my son the option to hold himself back for the sports if he wants, but I think he will just stay as he is.

I have seen those kids that are held back in Kindergarten and I think it is a lot of times the kid that wasn't ready at all and only sent there to save money on child care (just my opinion). Bottom line is that I think Mom and Dad know best so go with your gut.

K.

Hi K.~

My son is a second child with a summer birthday too. (July 19th). All he wanted to do when he turned 5 was go to the school that his big sister went to. He woke up on his 5th birthday and asked me, *Mommy can I go to kindergarten today?* I was advised by several teachers at the school, as well as close friends, to give him the gift of time. I was faced with the decision of doing that, or breaking his spirit. All he wanted to do was go to kindergarten! So, my husband and I decided to let him go to kindergarten that Fall. I have to tell you, if I could do it all over again, I would give him the extra year. He had a hard time academically between 1st and 3rd grade. Plus, he is so much younger than a alot of his classmates. He did fine in kindergarten, but first grade is when we really saw the struggle begin. He is at grade level now, as he begins to enter 4th grade, but I do worry about him as he advances, especially when he gets to middle school. So, that is just my two cents. I hope it helps you with your decision.

Good luck!
C.

I have three kids, 13, 10, 4. My middle daughter was also a July baby. We did not hold her back and she has always done well. My oldest was a december baby and we had to wait to start her. She has a harder time because she is older than the other kids in her class, but she is doing well academically. If his teachers think he is ready (they know what to look for in readiness) I would send him. One thing to think about is how he will feel if you hold him back. He knows he is old enough to start and will most likely feel like he is not good enough and that is why you are not letting him start. If you do decide to wait proceed with caution when it come to what you tell him. You do not want him to feel bad that he can't start and give him a bad beginning to school.

SEND HIM!!! You mention he's a second child, so I'm sure he's used to keeping up with bigger kids. Also, remember that the 9-month age gap disappears with age.

I'm sure he'll do fine. I started kindergarten at 4 (December 26th birthday - Canadian system is the calendar year) and I don't know what I'd have done had I been born a week later and started a year later. I was tall and could read when I started and would have been very bored had I waited. So again I say: SEND HIM!!!! ;-)

Hi K.! I understand the stress you are feeling about sending your son on to kindergarten when now a days so many parents are starting their children later. As a result, many kids are starting kindergarten at 6 instead of 5. I am an elementary school teacher, and I taught kindergarten for 5 years. It sounds like your son's preschool teacher says he is ready, as well as the teachers from the K program. I definitely think you should send him and allow him the opportunity to participate in a kindergarten program that he seems to be perfectly ready for. When I taught, the children I recommended to continue on with an extra year of kindergarten were children with late birthdays (Possibly september,oct, and nov). These children needed an extra year of K to mature. These were not children with learning disabilities. I feel it is beneficial for a child who is going to repeat, to do so in a kindergarten class rather than an extra year of preschool. The child will be familiar with the K routine, academics, and socialization. I hope you decide to give your son a shot at K this year. Good luck!

Hi--It is such a big decision and always takes a lot of consideration. As a teacher I can tell you I have never met a parent who was sorry they waited and I've met many who were sorry they sent the child 'on time'. California is way behind with respect to cut off dates! As another poster mentioned, Kindergarten these days is what 1st grade used to be. There is a lot of pressure to achieve certain benchmarks in order to go on to 1st grade. When children start at age 4 it is extremely difficult for them to reach these goals and many have to be retained for a second year in Kindergarten.

I have four children, with birthdays in January, May, August and October. Where we lived in NJ, the cutoff date was Oct 1. So my January girl and Oct 11 boy waited the year and were always very successful and confident and a great students. My second boy had a May birthday, and I was reluctant to send him even so. I was pressured into it and he paid the price. He did OK in K, but was moved from 1st back to K midway through the next year. He settled down somewhat after that, but was never a good student and never really liked school. My last was an August girl and she started right when she turned 5. I think she would have done better to wait because as the youngest, she is the most immature of my kids.

Sorry to bend your ear with so much of my story! Bottom line is, if you have ANY doubts, wait. There is no real down side to this. It can't hurt and may well help. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Hi K.,

I have a second daughter who's birthday is in October,and we started her in kindergarten at 4 turning 5. she is now a freshmen in high school and if I had to do it all over again, without a doubt, I would have kept her in preschool/daycare another year. Starting in second grade, it would take her half the year to catch up to the rest of her class. She could write her name and do all the things the other Kindergartener's were doing. But, boy did she struggle and still does today. We have tudor's to help now but I have always kicked myself because of it.

Good Luck in whatever you decide.

Hi K.,

My daughter has a July birthday too. I sent her to kindergarten when she turned 5. I had the same concerns about her being with peers that were 9 months to a year older. My daughter seems to be like your son. She will be entering fourth grade and each year at school I hear from her teachers that she is doing very well. She can't wait for school to begin. I wish my other child shared her enthusiasm for school. I know it's an important decision. Based on what you wrote about your son, he sounds like he is ready.

My nephew is a Sept. baby and was held back in 8th grade--just couldn't handle the work load, had gotten behind each year. Doing much better now that he repeated (in a different school in the same district). My youngest is a Dec. baby (missed cut off by 2 weeks). Great for him. He was enrolled in a pre-kindergarten class where he learned a lot of the things necessary in today's school system for kindergarten that we didn't need to know. As he was also an easily distracted child the extra time helped. He has excelled each year and since he's on the small side physically it didn't make much of a difference with regard to that. He always had challenging teachers through elementary school and seems to be challenged in middle school. As a parent volunteer for many years during both my sons years in elementary school, I noticed the kids that had the most problems (and caused the most disturbances in the classroom) weren't the kids with English as a second language (we had quite a number at our school), but the kids (usually boys) whose parents had them start school because they could (met age requirement). A lot of it was emotional immaturity. Now that several of these boys are in middle school they are struggling (and one parent recently spoke with me and complained that the school district and teachers aren't really "working" with them when it comes to "tough" assignments. Apparently this boy is still struggling. I'm sure some kids "catch up" eventually, but it does take help from the parents. Good luck with whatever decision you make.

All kids are different, if you really feel he is ready, I'd say send him. My daughter's birthday is in October and I had her start kindergarten at 4. Now she is 5, starting 1st grade in two weeks. She is fine and loves school and all of the homework. We are also in a school district/community that emphasizes academics.

I am a teacher and I think that you should go with your gut! There is nothing wrong with him staying out another year. Actually, in the long run there might be some benefits. What is wrong with him being one of the oldest, largest, and most mature in the class. I have seen many start when the are young and they always struggle. School is a challenge even in K. The push for students to make standards creates a tremendous amount of pressure. Each child is different and you know him best, so again go with your gut and don't worry about what others think.

Hi K.,

All four of my children have fall birthdays, and all four started kindergarten when they were 4 years old. Why? Because they were all ready. They are now 111, 17, 23 and 27 and never had a moment of trouble with school due to their age. We based our decisions each time on the advice of the preschool teachers and the elementary school admissions people.

I think if your child is ready he will really be far too ahead of the game to be happy with waiting.

Hope that helps.
J.

You are not crazy. You are, in fact, very wise to be concerned and having second thoughts. School is way more competitive and curriculum is way more demanding than it used to be. I was a primary grades teacher before I became a SAHM this spring. I noticed you teach as well, so I don't mean to be preaching to the choir, but, here are my thoughts - for what they're worth:
Kindergarten used to be half a day and included social/behavior development. Now, most kindergartens are full day and so academic heavy when it is not developmentally appropriate that it results in behavior issues. Mainly from boys because (not being stereotypical here, studies will show) boys mature slower than girls. Of course, there are exceptions. None-the-less, if you would like to give your son an advantage academically, holding him back a year is a fine thing to do. Many more parents are doing this in the nation today. If you are interested, read "Boys Adrift". It discusses at length five factors that contribute to unmotivated boys in our society today. One of the factors is the changes in the classroom environment.

Nowadays kindergarten is what 1st grade used to be. I would let him wait one more year. My youngest, Dija, is a September baby and at the time I was young and naive, so I didn't even consider the possibility of letting her start Kindergarten a year later. She struggled through and has been challenged ever since.

Now my girls are in Waldorf (where Kindergarten is more like preschool and kids go into 1st grade when they are 7 not 6 because they pay attention to children's level of development unlike current public schools in my area...) Dija is doing so much better and is happier as a result of not being pushed so hard. She still has a stigma about her hand writing from being forced to do it earlier than she was ready for, not being taught how to hold the pencil properly, then given years of negative reinforcement about it being sloppy, but I'm hoping that will resolve itself in time.

Sorry for the soap box, I guess my point is, after learning about childhood development (I took a very enlightening class in college a couple of semesters ago,) seeing what our public school system is doing, and talking to my girls' teachers over the years, a pattern of pushing kids too far too soon is emerging which results in high frustration and low self esteem over time for students and teachers alike. If it were me, I would let him have one more year of preschool.

I imagine you'll get a LOT of advice, so I'll try to keep it short...
If he is ready, SEND HIM! Do not worry about future "performance." If he is ready now, and you hold him back, he will be sooo bored next year, and most likely he will act out (by being silly, etc.)
Too many parents hold their kids back, hoping to give them an "edge," but it just ends up being frustrating for all, the teacher, the parents and (most importantly) the child.
I see this all the time in my upscale, very competitive community.
My only concern is: WHY are there 29 kids in a Kindergarten class?
I am a mom of 3 (ages 9, 12 & 15) including one who had a November birthday (yes I sent her "early" & have no regrets.) I also work part time in two first grade classrooms.
Trust your gut & good luck!!!

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