5 In July - Kindergarten?

Updated on March 13, 2010
B.M. asks from Bountiful, UT
19 answers

My son turns 5 mid-July. He was 4 weeks premature ... don't know if that matters. His current preschool teacher ( at a kindercare learning center) told me she thinks he is ready for a 1/2 day situation, but says he takes up a good amount of her time, and probably wouldn't be ready for an all day situation, especially if the student/teacher ratio was on the high end. I feel like he knows what he needs to know going into Kindergarten, but he's a bit "silly" and can take a lot of work to get to concentrate and focus. Anyone have a suggestion/idea/tips/experience with this?

Thanks Moms! :)

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Wow you guys! Thanks for all the WONDERFUL advice and tips. This really helps and gives me some great guidance on where to go next. Thanks again ... :)

Featured Answers



answers from Denver on

I am a former teacher and a mom that had a son born in May who I held back for a year, despite his large size and seeming school readiness. I always felt like boys did much better if you waited and were at the older end vs. the younger. Now that he is 13 I am so grateful I waited.
My nephews were twins born in July and are now in college. My sister in law always wished that she had waited and felt like they were a litte young for their grade all the way through school, although they were both social and had good friends.
My sister has three boys that were born in the months of April, June and August and she waited an extra year to send all of them to kindergarten and thinks that this was a really good decision.



answers from Pocatello on

My sixteen year old daughter whom has a June birthday would have not struggled so much if I had waited another year. HOLD HIM BACK.

More Answers



answers from San Francisco on

My son was born in July, and so we struggled with this decision. We started my son on time, and he is doing really well. In our case, my son was able to identify all of his letters, do simple math under 20, knew the sounds of letters, and knew a handful of sight words before starting. His handwriting was atrocious. So, he had some things to learn, but was basically beginning school with a number of successes in the bag.

For a little boy, the major adjustment will be to sitting still and concentrating, so Laurie's advice - and namely that your son can sit and concentrate for 20 - 30 minutes - is important.

Another factor is your child's social development. For the most part, the kids tend to get along, but at least in my son's class, you can identify the few who are socially a little bit young as they just don't meld with the others. By socially young, I mean these kids are the hitters and biters. I'm sure as these kids mature, they will blend in better, but right now it is heartbreaking to see how the rest of the class moves in a pack and these kids straggle behind.

On the fence? Check out Raising Cain and Outliers. Both make compelling cases for holding a child back. Though, as I said, my son is doing well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

Our daughter missed the cut off for Kindergarten by one day. I'm so glad! She could count past 100, write all upper and lower case letters and had beginning basic reading skills. She was academically ready but now that I look back she was not socially ready. Our son, 2, has a June birthday and we will definitely have him start when he is six. Both my husband and I are educators and we really have seen the benefits of starting them later as opposed to earlier. Another teacher told me once that if they can sit still and listen to directions for a short amount of time the academics will come. Her biggest battle is with those that struggle with being able to focus. She has never had any parents regret starting them later. With that being said, follow your heart and you can't go wrong.



answers from Salt Lake City on

I used to teach kindergarten, and I can tell you that age isn't always the issue. I've had August birthday kids (barely 5)who were far more ready for kindergarten than October birthdays (nearly 6). And it's not just how much they know, its also in how they follow directions and how they respond to new situations. Some kids are a bit silly/have less focus and still do well. Others can be very focused but not respond well to the school environment (ie not wanting to change tasks when it is time).

So, from a family perspective, my son has a June birthday and he went into Kindergarten when he was 5. He is also the youngest and REALLY REALLY wanted to go. He's been fine. My daughter (my oldest) has a September birthday, and had to wait till she was almost 6. She also has done fine. The differences will even out as they get older. Is your son excited to start kindergarten, or will he be as happy waiting? Are there other family dynamics to look at? (Ages/grades of siblings or cousins - my nephew has an Aug birthday and is 10 months older than my son, but waited and they are in the same grade; sometimes it's kinda weird).

So I don't have any definative answers. I would guess his teacher now knows him pretty well, and know what he would be ready for. There's no harm in waiting. There's little harm in going ahead, unless he is clearly unready. It becomes less and less of an issue as he gets older. And you don't have to make the decision quite yet, but it's not a bad idea to talk to the neighborhood school and see what options they have (half day vs full day, class size, recommendations, etc).



answers from Salt Lake City on


I haven't looked at any of the other moms' responses yet, so I hope this isn't a new suggestion.... Keep him back a year. Your apprehension is valid. Boys tend to be a little less focused anyway. He may surprise you and excel quickly in Kindergarten, but what if he doesn't? You'd get to hold him back or play catch up the rest of his school years. No fun for anyone!! The extra time getting a little older will help him, he'll be the oldest in his class, drive first, date first, be able to play sports more aggressively (if you and he both want him to!).... And by the time he gets to high school, he'll likely graduate a year early anyway, right?!

Good luck!
If I had a boy with the same challenge, I would hold him back a year. In fact I'll look at that in 4 years from now with my daughter that will be born this July and take a serious inventory of how she's doing at that point.




answers from Salt Lake City on

I'm not sure why but many studies have shown that boys do better when starting kindergarten later, but I also think that you have to look at your individual child. I sent my son to school when he turned 5 (his birthday is August) and he has done fine. Yet my nephew they kept back due to inattentiveness, and having a hard time focusing. He did much better waiting a year. They also used that extra year to enroll him in a prekindergarten class which was more time than preschool and more about learning (less social) but not a full day situation either. You may want to look into that type of option. Only you will know what is going to be best for your son, but I would definetly weigh the factors you have stated. Him being premature and somewhat silly and taking alot of the teachers time. You know that with 20-30 kids in a kindergarten class he is not going to get as much one on one attention as he is probably getting in his preschool class.

Good luck with your decision.



answers from Burlington on

Wow, I'm so glad to hear of other mom's struggling with this very same question. I too have a son turning 5 in July. I have decided to put him in preschool next year instead of kindergarten. He is smart, but very sensitive. I call him my "toe dipper" instead of a kid who just jumps right into a group of kids during activities. I feel like they grow up so fast that an extra year of structured play and "no pressure" academics can only help. Maybe it's my own anxieties playing a part of my decision, but really I do think it's the best thing for my boy. I also know that just being a boy he will mature later than his female classmates, so why not let him be the oldest in the group instead of potentially being one-step behind? I'm sure you'll make the best decision for you son. Best of luck!



answers from Salt Lake City on

Brit - Let me start off by saying that only you know what is right for your child. I have volunteered in countless kindergarten classes, and there are always a few kids (boys and girls) who are a little less mature, especially at the beginning of the year. Most of them, however, outgrow it and catch up to the rest by the end of the year. If you don't feel he is ready, it is your right to hold him back. If however, you feel he is ready academically, I think he will be fine to go ahead and go. I was a very small child (33lbs 39 inches tall) at had an August birthday when I entered kindergarten. I never regretted being the youngest or smallest.

To many of the previous posters, I am always surprised at how eager people are to suggest holding a child back a year. It is no wonder that we are falling behind the rest of the world academically. In America, we no longer instill the drive for academics in our children. It is much more important to "us" that our children are fulfilled socially and athletically in school rather than academically. While I believe that the social aspect of school is important, it is not THE MOST important part of school. The focus really should be on academics.

If you have taught your child how to handle the social pitfalls of school--and all kids will have them whether they are the cutest, smallest, tallest, biggest, slowest, whatever--then they will be able to handle whatever social difficulties come their way, provided you are there for them and help them through it.

We have been in the opposite boat with two of our children. Two of our five kids have October birthdays, and hence, completely miss the September 1st deadline set by the state of Utah. We ended up having to skip our son a grade later on--he was completely bored in the current grade that he was in. It was HARD skipping a grade, much harder than if he could have just started kindergarten as a "young" kindergartner. In the long run, however, it has been the right thing to do as he was becoming increasingly disillusioned by the monotony of school that was far too easy for him.

Now, we again have a little one that won't turn five until October. She is completely ready for kindergarten NOW, and will be even more ready this fall. This coming year, I am going to either put her in a private kindergarten or do home schooling of kindergarten in addition to sending her to preschool (for the THIRD year in a row). Then, the following year, rather than enrolling her in kindergarten as one of the oldest, she will go into 1st grade as the youngest.

By the way, ALL of my kids are really little--only 10th to 15th percentile on the growth charts, so they are small whether they are the oldest or youngest in the class. We have taught them how it doesn't matter. None of them feel like it is a problem at all. My son cares the very least about it. I don't buy into the excuse that your child being small will cause problems. It is up the parents to teach a child that size is irrelevant. Teach them how to cope with being different--whatever their being different is.

Brit--good luck with your decision.



answers from Salt Lake City on

My stepson has a mid-July birthday and started school as one of the youngest. He's always been very bright, as well as silly and distractable. He's still that way.

He had a hard time in the younger grades as he was pretty bored, which made the focusing even harder. He had a couple great teachers in 3rd and 4th grade who really motivated him and that helped. He's now in 9th grade and in several honors classes (including 3 honors 10th grade classes), and he's still bored and hard to focus. Though he has learned not to be silly in school.

In retrospect, I wish we had considered some alternative schools - schools that are more focused on self-directed learning and exploration. I think that would have helped his motivation and focus.

Perhaps exploring some different types of preschools would be beneficial as an in-between stage? Or a private school that can help him grow socially so that he can still attend kindergarten?

You don't mention where your son is academically, so this may not be applicable, but thought I'd mention it.



answers from Charlotte on




answers from Denver on

I have been an elementary school teacher for 16 years. I know many parents face the same decision with summer birthdays. One way to look at it is if you wait a year, he'll have more time to mature and possibly be stronger academically and socially. Many people choose to wait with boys....but it's not like he's barely making the cut off. My youngest student this year, second grade, is a girl with an August birthday. Think of it beyond kindergarten. He won't necessarily play "catch up" in kindergarten. He may be behind maturity wise for years to come if he is one of the youngest in his class. I do not feel there is one right way to go. It is definitely an individualized decision. Certainly sounds like he gets a lot of support at home. Take care!



answers from Billings on

As a former teacher I would hold off starting him in kindergarten. Boys tend to mature less quickly and benefit from being a year older before they start kindergarten. I have 2 girls and if they were just turning 5 in July, I wouldn't start them either. Full day kindergarten is hard and it is really hard on them if they aren't ready. On another note, its not fair to the other children in the class if one child is taking up a lot of the teacher's time.



answers from Denver on

I have a July son and we had to make the same difficult choice two years ago. I was a kindergarten teacher so you would think it would be easier for me and it wasn't. I have to say in general (more so for boys than girls), the younger boys are SO much more immature than the girls at that age. The younger ones really stood out. And the thing is, it is totally normal for them to be young and immature at 5. I didn't want to push my kid into "growing up too soon" just for kindergarten. I waited until my kiddo turned 6 and it worked out great for him. Now I have my May birthday son that I am decided what to do with. That is even more tough because he will be one of the youngest (but not the youngest) or the very oldest. The oldest in my classroom in whatever grade I have taught seem to always cruise through school much more effertlessly and with mroe confidence. Also something to think about...as a teenager, do you want your child to be the oldest or youngest when dealling with peer pressure issues. I was the youngest growing up in school and it didn't bother me too much except for certain points such as age 16 and not even being 21 until after college...I didn't get to celebrate with anyone when they turned 21 because I was too young to go to bars. Not that that was so important, but relevant to me at the time. Good luck with your decision. I think what ever you feel strongly about, commit to it and it should be fine. There is no one answer fits all with this.



answers from Colorado Springs on

It wouldn't hurt to put kindergarten off for a year. He may know the kindergarten academics, but some children need an extra year to be ready for the social and structural side of school. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with him; little children just have different rates of readiness. And there can be a huge payoff down the road - say, in middle or high school - if you let him have the time to mature now, when a year's difference isn't really a big deal. Once children are in a classroom they simply don't have a lot of one-on-one time with a teacher, and children also have to deal with a large number of other factors. There are alternatives you could choose for the fall, giving him a little more time before he must face a school situation. If your son's "silliness" concerns you, you might ask your doctor what he or she thinks about it.



answers from Denver on

your son has two issues - prematurity and the fact he is a boy - younger boys have a higher risk of social and behavioral problems, and his prematurity may affect that as well. I agree with others who have suggested having him evaluated for K readiness - but be sure to look at social and emotional factors,not just academic. another year of preschool won't hurt him and could give him the time to grow up he needs.



answers from Chicago on

My daughter was also born in mid July..although she was not a preemie, so I don't know if that would cause any differences. She is the youngest in her class, and I think is slightly below her peers as far as maturity. She is keeping up just fine academically though. If she was born any later in the summer, looking back, I probably would have chosen to wait a year. I'm sure your son would end up just fine in the long run if he starts K this fall. But if you are having doubts, I think I just might keep him in preschool an extra year. Better to do that, then enroll him and then he has to repeat K next year...



answers from New York on

my daughters turned five first week of july. the started kindergarten in september. just got their first report cards. aced in all academic areas, then one is excellent in everything and the other one got (needs work) on stuff that have to do with her immaturity. i don't regret sending her to kindergarten, i think she would have been bored had i kept her home as she's way advanced in everything (except behavior). you know your son best. do you think he'd get bored if he repeats pre-k? if he gets bored, likelihood is he wil 'act out', hence be deemed again too young for kindergarten. if you think he will learn by following other kids, then send him. i had a 50/50 chance of succeeding. my twin a is doing great, my twin B is doing great in things that matter to me (academics) and not so great in things that matter to, well, everyone else :)


answers from Austin on

If his current teacher thinks he is ready, then he probably is.. Here are somethings to judge his preparedness.

Can he sit quietly and listen to an entire story without jumping up or getting distracted? Can he do this keeping his hands to himself? Can he do this at the library or the bookstore with things going on around this activity?

Can he follow multiple directions at once?.. "Honey, please go to my room and get my sweater that I have on my bed and bring me my hair brush from my bathroom?"

Can he go the potty all by himself, wiping himself and putting his clothes back on?

Can he write his name (does not have to be perfect)?

Does he know the alphabet?

Can he count to at least 20?

Can he open a juice box or a small milk carton?

Can he draw a human face (does not have to be perfect)? This means are the parts in the right places on the drawing?

If he can do these things, he is ready. Please do not fall into the trap that others set up of thinking because he is one of the younger kids that he will always be behind the others.. By 3rd grade, it all starts to even out..

Our daughter was a preemie with a late July bday and she started off just fine.. I think she had an edge because she had been in daycare and was ready to work and follow directions. She has always loved learning.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions