62 answers

Should a December Birthday Girl Wait an Extra Year for Kindergarten?

My daughter's birthday is early December, so she does not make the 5yr old cut off by Sept 1st rule...I had really wanted to start her in pre-k this fall and enter her into kindergarten next fall... but, I can't seem to get around that sept 1 cut-off. She knows her alphabet, numbers, shapes etc..she can write all of her letters both upper case and lower so academically she is more than ready to start K next year with a little more fine tuning from a pre-K this year. I'm petrified of "pushing" her into K at the wrong time, whether it's early or late. I'm not comfortable with this cut-off because it will make her the oldest in the class. My daugther is also very tall for her age (98th percentile) so not only age-wise will she stick out but also height. She's my first and I don't want to do the wrong thing. I'm also a December birthday and my mother managed to get me into K early so that I went to school being the youngest in class...I loved it, i especially liked graduating at 17 instead of 18 or 19. What have you done or are going to do? Please advise....

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So What Happened?™

I want to thank all of you for your postings. Your honesty and real life experiences are greatly appreciated. I have decided to place my daughter in a private preschool where they will chart her progress and see how she compares with others her age. My goal is to have her start kindergarten next fall (a year early according to Illinois standards) and then transfer to another private school in 1st grade in order to keep her "ahead". Of course it all depends on my daughter's academic/emotional readiness, according to the schools professionals. As of now they see that she does sit still for a "long" period of time and follows directions easily (which seems to be a marker for emotional readiness for classrooms). It just amazes me how some find it acceptable to "hold their child back." It even sounds wrong. Schools should test children not go by birthday as a requirement. If life was based on our birthdays and not maturity/intellectual level, we would all be married to someone our exact age. It's crazy. Thank you again.

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I would NEVER start a child earlier - my 5th grade daughter has a girl in her class that is a year to 15 mos younger then some kids (my daughter is June 99, started school Aug 04, this girl is Dec. 29, 99 and also started school Aug 04). Once I learned that a LOT made sense. She is so far behind socially and she is having troubles in every subject area. Yes, at 4 she was advanced enough to pass the test to enter, but I would rather have the smartest kid in the class that never struggles compared to the youngest who struggles all the time and can't make friends because she really is emotionally and socially like the kids in the grade younger.

Conversely I would never have held back my younger daughter who is Aug 23, 2002. If I had to hold her back a year she would have cried and gone into a shell saying she was too dumb. But if her birthday was in Sept I would have and she would have lived with it cause she would have known that from the start. She is doing just fine in school despite being the youngest kid in her grade level. But I couldn't imagine her being in school a year earlier.

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She won't be the oldest in her class. My daughter has an October birthday. I could understand if she were a Sept. birthday, but December is over 3 months younger than the cut off. When we went to school the cut off date was Dec. 1st- big difference. My daughter is also very advanced and in the 100th percentile for height. I am not worried or concerned. Relax. She will be in school the rest of her life. Don't rush it!

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Here in Utah what you can do is get her into a private kindergarten class (like through a daycare) and then transfer her in to public school (or just keep her in the private if it's a good one). That's the only way my sister is able to get my incredibly smart 5 year old nephew in. They refuse to let anyone get in early. Even if he then will be bored and potentially become a troublemaker because he has nothing better to do. It's dumb. Good Luck!

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Hi J.. Like you, I have a late Dec birthday and went to school early, youngest in my class, off to college at 17 -- doing extremely well for myself. But times are REALLY different now! There is a current trend of Moms *intentionally* holding their children back a year with August, July, and even June birthdays. Can you imagine your 4 year old competing in the same classroom against a child who turned 6 in June? These Moms believe that the older kids will have the most advantage in the classroom -- academically, emotionally and, definitely, physically. (I'll bet these older boys will dominate in sports and end up with all the college scholarships!) I understand that you are disappointed. But I think things will work out great for your daughter. She will not be the oldest. Best wishes.

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Here in Utah what you can do is get her into a private kindergarten class (like through a daycare) and then transfer her in to public school (or just keep her in the private if it's a good one). That's the only way my sister is able to get my incredibly smart 5 year old nephew in. They refuse to let anyone get in early. Even if he then will be bored and potentially become a troublemaker because he has nothing better to do. It's dumb. Good Luck!

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I put my son in kindergarten Sept. 1st exactly and he did not like it, I have regretted it. He was very large so I thought that I didn't want him any larger than the next group. That did not matter. Socially he was not ready, even if he was size and intelligence wise. It is tough really tough because I had an early birthday, I was small and I loved the idea of being one of the youngest. I think you have to feel her out and ask her yourself. I do not think I really sat down with that sort of discussion. He is now older and feels that he was always the youngest. Some of it might be in our heads, but kids grow up so fast that unless you have to work and need her in school, my thoughts are to wait.

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My daughter (now 13) has an Oct 1 bday. She was reading when she started kindergarten and has always been at the top of her class academically and maturity wise. I would never have it any other way....

One thing to think about (and I did back before she started kindergarten) was the effect pushing her ahead would have later in life. She was definitely ready for kindergarten a year before she went, but I am very thankful she is among the oldest of her class and not a full year younger.

Now that she is 13, and in junior high, I love that she is a leader and not a follower. Had I pushed her sooner, she would be the youngest of her peers and exposed to things at an earlier age. With peer pressure to drink, smoke, and have sex looming ahead of us, I am glad she is 1 year older than many of her friends. Some of her friends have late August bdays. They will turn 13 just ahead of her turning 14.

There is so much pressure to "grow up" faster now and kids are exposed to so much at an earlier age.... I am so glad that she has that extra year of maturity and I would not have changed anything!

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She won't be the oldest in her class. My daughter has an October birthday. I could understand if she were a Sept. birthday, but December is over 3 months younger than the cut off. When we went to school the cut off date was Dec. 1st- big difference. My daughter is also very advanced and in the 100th percentile for height. I am not worried or concerned. Relax. She will be in school the rest of her life. Don't rush it!

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My child made the cut -off by 1 day and I started him just when he turned 5. In my opinion, it's better not to start them too young. My son knew everything too, but kids didn't respect him because he was the youngest in his class. It's better to be older, because the younger ones seem to look up to the older ones. I held my son back so he's better in sports than the others. 17 is too young to graduate high school, because in college, guys will take advantage of the younger girls

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She should be emotionally ready for school too. My son's birthday is in October. It was very hard because I had the same feelings as you did but I didn't have any alternatives so we had to wait another year. I'm not sure he wasn't emotionally ready. He was an early reader, and could add early. He attended pre-K. Everything seems to be too easy for him from kindergarten until now. He is now in second grade and was tested for the gifted program last week. My step-sister is also in the same boat too. Her birthday is in December too. It is really easy for her too. It is a tough one but I assume that everything will work out either way. At least you'll know her report card will be a good one.

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I don't think there is much of a decision for you to make. She should start kindergarten in the fall after she turns five. She certainly will not be the oldest child having a December birthday. There are lots of kids born in the fall. We have a September 1st cut off as well. I have a daughter with a late September birthday, so she started kindergarten this past fall when she was just under 6 and she is not even the very oldest in her class.

I certainly would not try to send her early at the age of 4, even if you could. Do you want her to be 4 when some of the other kids are already 6? I think that would be a big disadvantage to her. You need to look at how she will do socially as well as academically. I personally think being one of the older kids in class is better than being one of the youngest.

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