107 answers

Should I Put My Son in Kindergarten at the Age of 4 or Hold Him Back

I have a son who will be 4 when he starts kindergarten in Sept 2009. He will turn 5 in Oct. 2009. I am not sure if I should hold him back a year and start him when he is 5 turning 6. I am going to put him in preschool in Sept 2008 in a 4 & 5 year old class. I want to see how he does. He is very bright and very social. I feel he will do well if he starts early, but I don't want him to feel pressured. Would appreciate any advice.

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Amazing 107 responses to my question! Thank you to each and one of you for your time and great advice. We decided to do another year of preschool (pre-K) for our four year old (soon to be five year old). We believe we made the right choice with no regrets. Thanks again, you are all the greatest!

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Hi L.,
I had the same concerns about my son who had a late birthday. In order to make a decision, I spoke with his preschool teacher and had him assessed by the school district (which is free) to find out if he was ready. Both gave the green light and we decided to put him in Kindergarten. We had a bit of a rough start, but I blame that on a 1st yr YOUNG teacher. He did great and just finished 1st grade and is right on target with learning and even excelling in certain areas.
Good Luck!
E.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm a pre-school teacher. My advice is ask his teachers. Some kids are ready at 4 & others are not. His pre-school teachers will help you see what areas he will need help with or if he's ready. I would ask after the Christmas break or new year to see what they say. They see a lot of students & usually have good indications on how to help him. The school I work at, one teacher does at the end of year reviews & usually suggest another year of pre-school if she believes the child isn't quite ready.

Hell L.,
Every child is different. I tried to put my son in kindergarten when he was 4. He had difficulty with learning, the teacher told me to bring him back next year. Some children are ready for it and others are not. Good luck. G.

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I always suggest waiting for several reasons. Boys mature later. Also, when looking at universities, later on in life, the boys (and girls) especially if athletic in nature, gain a great advantage in their testing results for SATs, ACTs, APs and SAT IIs if they are competing a year later. It is so competitive getting into good universities now that there is no rush for getting them into kindergarten at 4.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi L.,

We had the same question when our oldest (now 10) was first going to start school. He was a summer baby and had JUST turned 5 when we put him in K. He also had been in a year or 2 of a preschool program so we were very comfortable with him starting at 5. I had already taught him his alphabet and he was reading and writing his own name so he was READY academically, but he was very young and I think he would have benifited from waiting one more year!

Of course now he is an honor roll student and is doing great so the decision worked out ok.

BUT, as our pediatritian reminded us, he will be in school for a long time so keep him home as long as possible!

If he is in a preschool program for a couple of hours to get him around other kids his own age that would be a plus!

At the age of 4-5 they are a good deal younger (mentally) than at the age of 6-7. Keep him home as long as you can! It will be worth it.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,
I had the same concerns about my son who had a late birthday. In order to make a decision, I spoke with his preschool teacher and had him assessed by the school district (which is free) to find out if he was ready. Both gave the green light and we decided to put him in Kindergarten. We had a bit of a rough start, but I blame that on a 1st yr YOUNG teacher. He did great and just finished 1st grade and is right on target with learning and even excelling in certain areas.
Good Luck!
E.

1 mom found this helpful

The private school we are considering for our son will not take kids into kindergarten until 6 no exceptions....our son is mentally a couple of years ahead of his classmates and would be 5.5 and there is no way they will accept him. They want the kids all at the same emotional and physical maturity. It was a tough because I think he is bored in preschool but we have also been giving compelling arguments of why waiting will be better for him.

Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

Our son turned 5 last October. He too is bright and social. We waited to start him in kindergarten and do not have a single regret. I actually think of having him wait as our gift to him. Our daughter is older and has an January birthday so she was one of the older kids when she started kindergarten and we saw what a difference it made for her. And, kindergarten has changed from what we experienced as kids. Gone are the days of playing in the sandbox and fingerpainting all day. These kids read, write dictated sentences, do homework. I think that is just way too much to ask of a 4 year old.

1 mom found this helpful

I chose to put my son (now 13) in K early...his birthday is mid-November. He had problems every fall through 4th grade. He would cry and tell me he wasn't smart enough and by Christmas break he would be catching on and everything would be fine. This problem really stemmed from the fact that we moved from a small rural town to a rural city and the K standards (what they needed to know entering K) were very different and he WAS behind. He did LOVE schol and did not behave this way in thhe classroom, just at home with the homework. At the end of K I wanted to hold him back because I felt emotionally he was not ready since he KNEW that he was behind and she counseled us not to retain him. Every fall I felt bad, but once he started doing music in the 4th grade, everything seemed to click. The fall of 5th grade was easy. He has always met the standards and gotten good grades it was his self-confidence in his work that was the problem. He is now 13, an Honors student entering high school and will earn his Life Rank in Boy Scouts this fall and begin working on his Eagle project and requirements next year.

My younger son has a birthday in January and was almost 6 when he started K. He knew all the K standard info and at first really liked school. Now, although he likes school, he is beginning to get bored. His 3rd grade teacher did not challenge him at all last year and unfortunately I didn't find out until after Christmas break. I told him that if he is feeling that way again this year, to let me know so that we can change teachers. I worry that if he loses interest in school now that he will grow bored and end up just getting his GED so he can drop out to begin working or something...

If your son knows all or most of the standards required for entryr is outgoing and loves learning, then I would go ahead with it. It is hard to get boys to stay interested in school and if they are ready you need to go for it. You can help him through any tough times and definitely get him involved in music as early as possible as I beleive this madethe difference with my older son.

Good luck and happy school days!

--C.

1 mom found this helpful

I would say that waiting is best, In my experience boys are always slower to mature. My son had two boys in his K class last year that started at 4 both boys were held back, which is soo awful because all of their friends are going to the first grade. I wouldnt want to take the chance.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi there,

I am a teacher (4th grade) and I am all for starting kids (especially boys) at age 5 to turn 6 in kindergarten. Boys typically need an extra year to mature before starting kindergarten.

I was tutoring a boy last year who was in first grade, but he was so far behind, he ended up repeating first grade. He started kindergarten at 4. His mom thought he might not be ready but she was pressured by other neighborhood families starting school. Developmentally, he was not ready for kindergarten.

I see so many kids struggle in the upper grades and it is often the younger ones....that's not to say that all 4 year olds will struggle later in school. If you feel like your son is ready, go for it. If you have any doubts, wait. We ask so much of our little guys in school now there shouldn't be a rush. Enjoy him for another year!

I'm lucky, my son was born in January so we have no choice.

I hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

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