Redshirting, "Holding Back" 4 Year Old Daughter for Kindergarten

Updated on January 21, 2012
D.R. asks from Barrington, IL
31 answers

My daughter has a July 31st birthday. She is currently in 4's preschool. She will just turned 5 for the Sept. 1st cut-off. She is above average academically per her teachers. She is a little socially immature. She is petite and is one of the smaller ones in the class sue to her genetics and a late b-day. There has been times when she cried and wanted me to stay with her at preschool or wanted to go home with me. She does love preschool. Her teacher is recommending that we put her in pre-K but also feels she could go to Kindergarten. So the question is do I put her in a pre-k program or send her to kindergarten. My husband and I plan to observe a kindergarten class room and meet with the principle, but I would like to hear from other mom's experience and your option.

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So What Happened?

My husband and I meet with the principal. She stated that if the main issue was separation, and that academically she is very strong, that she sees no problem in having her start kindergarten. She stated many kids have separation challenges and discussed things that can be done to help alleviate them. Therefore, we are sending her to kindergarten:-). Thanks for all your feedback.

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answers from Kansas City on

you've listed many, really good, valid reasons not to send her. and one ("she's above average acedemically") that i guess is why you're considering sending her early? not sending her this year is NOT holding her back. it's waiting until she's old enough, and ready. there's absolutely nothing wrong with waiting.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I haven't read the others responses but as a former teacher AND having a son whose birthday is Sept 6 and super advanced (at second grade he was reading at a 6th grade level). I say let her do pre-K. In my experience, the young students are the ones who tend to have the most difficulty in school. I was glad my son was born in Sept verses Aug so I did not have to make this decision. He has always been a leader and his teacher's have given him more challenging work when needed. He is straight A's in fifth grade now and I know he is ready for middle school honors next year. My nephew on the other hand whose birthday is end of Aug, has struggled throughout his schooling. Still smart--but since he is the youngest in his class has always had difficulty. Let her be little. There is time for Kindergarten.



answers from New York on

I just responded to a similar question. My youngest was 4 when she started K. She had attended pre-K the year before. I remember her having her 6th b-day and a month later being invited to a classmates 8th b-day. There was never any question in my mind or hubby's that we should hold her back for a year. We knew that she was ready. She's now a sophmore, and looking back, I know we made the right choice.

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answers from Boston on

If you send her to Kindergarten next year, when she's 15 years old all her classmates will be 16 or so.

A question to ask yourself and your husband: when she's a teenager, do you want her to have that extra year of maturity and be one of the older kids in class or do you want her to be one of the youngest, with friends who have cars and who have had that extra time?

This isn't an issue about when she's 5 or 6 or even 8 or 9. The bigger impact will be felt when she's 13 or 15 or so, both in social maturity (friends, boys, etc) and in academic maturity (study skills, self-dicipline, etc).

Good luck choosing what is best for your family!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

As a former Kindie teacher I will tell you, she has the rest of her life for a formal academic education (which is what kindergarten is nowadays) keep here back until she is 5. There is so much the educational system expects out of our kids, in my opinion too much for a 4yr old or young 5. She will be better prepared for success in kindergarten & the years ahead if you can give her the time to emotionally & socially develop to handle the academic rigors of school. Kindergarten is reading, writing, math, continual student assessment, not to mention traditionally large classes. There is very little time for self exploration & time to allow natural skills & interests to develop under these demands. Best of luck in your decision.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I have 2 daughters with August birthdays.... the first one we sent when she was 5... she was very smart, and did ok until about 4th grade when it all came crashing down. She did get distracted easily all along, but in 4th grade she decided it was "too hard" and was lying about math homework, among other things. Anyway, that summer, when we moved from Iowa to Texas, we had her repeat 4th grade... we felt that was a good time to do that, and her peers didn't need to know. She was always petite, so she wouldn't have stood out by being taller than the other in her class. That was an excellent time to do it, and it worked well. She is now working on her doctorate in Microbiology at Johns Hopkins University.

Daughter #3, also the August birthday, was always different than her sister.... she had the same preschool teacher, and her comment was always.. "Krissi is just so different than Erin and Kay!" Also very smart, but much more ADHD. We decided to have her wait an extra year and did not send her until she was 6.... she went to a different pre-school (more of a pre-K through the school district), so that was a benefit, also. Krissi still had some problems in school, mostly socially because of the ADHD issues. I really don't want to think how she would have struggled if we had sent her at age 5.

I don't know if delaying our older daughter a year would have changed her outcome....

What advice do I have? I really don't know....but frankly, I would prefer a child to be an older one in class, rather than the youngest one...... it is far easier to delay a child's entry into school than make the decision several years later to have her repeat a grade.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

my vote is always to allow your child to be the oldest....the first to drive, the first to set the dating rules....

the exception would be if your child is not close to the bd cut-off AND is phenomenally social AND academic. Otherwise the preK or Bridges program is a better solution.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Most kids at this age are academically ready and most are socially immature at this age.
She may be academically mature right now but it seems to typically even out by 4th grade. If she is above average, majority of schools will make adjustments for her to blossom.

My take is think about the future, that's when it matters most. Do you prefer her to always be the youngest? What about peer pressure when she is in middle school? Think about all the things she will hear about or the words she will learn in middle & high school by the *older* kids.

I believe the general consensus is that middle school & high school are brutal. There is some advantages to letting your daughter be older rather than younger.

My daughters birthday is August 25th. It was a no brainer for me. She will be the oldest in her class but then again a lot of the kids had birthdays within a month or two of hers, so they are very close in age. She is only in kindergarten right now.

I have a niece that is a sophmore in h.s. She has had so many major struggles being the youngest. She started kindergarten when she was 4 & her birthday was end of November (thats when she turned 5). The preschool teachers talked my sister in to putting her in school early. She did fine academically till 5th grade. She still is socially/emotionally very immature. My sister regrets her decision every single day.

Good luck with your decision.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

What is the date cut off for your school district? It's a different decision if the cut off is August 1st versus November 1st.

No matter the cut off, it might be too early to make the decision. A child who doesn't look fully ready in December or January might be totally ready by May or June. Unless you have to make the decision now, why not wait a few months and assess now?

For what it's worth, I'm sending my 4 year old girls to kindergarten next year (they'll be five by then). They're May birthdays, and the cut off is August 1st so they'll be among the younger kids in the class. They're both petite too. Mine love preschool but have days where they want me to stay or take them home. I don't think that's a sign that they're not ready for kindergarten, I think it's just typical of this age group.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Put your child in Kindergrten. Let her learn in that environment and if need be, let her repeat it.

Kids will all catch up regardless of what their birthday is. You never sit in a meeting at work thinking, "Well that guy is a dummy, his birthday must be in November." It all works out.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Best thing we ever did was keep our daughter with a end of may birthday home an extra year...she is doing great in school now

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answers from Chicago on

my oldest sons birthday was august 13. we signed him up for kindergarten against his preschool teachers advice. she thought he was academically ready but not at all ready socially. he was also not ready to sit still and listen lol. so off he went to kindergarten for 3 days. then we pulled him out and put him back into preschool / prek for a year. he started kindergarten the week after he turned 6. was put into advanced classes (the soonest the catholic school did advanced work) he was doing college math by 9th grade and just graduated in may from carthage college. was much more ready for school at 6 than he was at 5. if you can do it give her the extra year. enroll her in some enrichment stuff if you want to but if she is not socially ready those kinds of things follow a kid. i can still remember even now 45 years later the kids who cried for mommy the kid who wet his pants in kindergarten and those who couldn't open their own thermos. just something to think about if she is small she could be picked on and if she is emotionally not ready then why push it



answers from Philadelphia on

Lots of different answers on this topic!! Both my kids are August bdays, 8/2 and 8/31 for the 9/1 cutoff. I did not hold either one back. My daughter, the 8/2 was absolutely ready for K, socially and academically. She is a sophmore now and has been a straight A student her whole life.
My son was ready academically, but was a little on the immature side. However, he was much taller than any kid his age and people already though he was a 2nd grader before he even started K. So I decided to give it a try and since he was above avg academically, he could learn more about the behavior aspect and he was fine. No regrets at all. I would let the teacher and principal guide your decision. Good luck.


answers from Philadelphia on

i didn't hold back my daughter and regret it. I couldn't afford to keep her in daycare again but I'm considering a 2nd year of K somewhere else. She was way ahead academically and had a Sep 3rd bday and made the cutoff, but Her K program is very advanced and she truggles a little. She understands everythnig an more but is too shy to answer. Anyway even if your child isn't shy I'd reccomend waiting if you can, she'll be the leader and older one and way more confident if you wait



answers from Los Angeles on

i think she would do fine in kinder next year. think about all the time and growing she will do in the next 6 months.


answers from Dover on

Is she 4 now (turning 5 on July 31st)? If so, I am guessing she more than makes the age cut off for K. If that is correct she should start this coming school year (she would be 5).

If you are saying she will be 4 in July, I would say wait until she actually turns 5.

My birthday is July 25 and when I was in school the cut off was Dec 31 so I more than made the cutoff. It was the norm and I had no problems (nor did the kids who had birthdays Sept - Dec). I was almost always THE smallest kid in any class but I am still short today (4 ft 11 in).



answers from Washington DC on

I skipped one daughter, held one.
Both are doing, have done fine.

The daughter we skipped is the youngest in her class by almost 18 months. She will graduate this year. Her friends have always been older, at 3 her best friend was 6. In Kinder her friends were the 2nd grade girls. She has always been strong academically. She has always been the smallest, still is, even at 16.

The other one we held, I didn't need to and when she started kinder she could read, add and subtract. She found kinder boring. By third she was annoyed with the other children and their lack of concentration and attention, by 5th I pulled her out to homeschool her. She will go back into school as a freshman this next year. She is more mature than most 8th graders.
Her friends have always been girls the same age. THe youth group girls are all 7th-9th graders and are all pretty tight.

I would keep the kids with their age group unless they are functioning way ahead of their peers, academically and socially. Or unless they are so far behind that they cannot keep up and have a mental disorder that hinders their progress.



answers from Columbus on

The red flag to me was your comment that she was socially immature. Given that, I think that another year of preK would be great for her. Also, if you have concerns about after she starts or gets into her preK class next year, talk to her teachers about it--they job is supposed to be to help kids get ready to succeed in school, starting in K.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Why do you expect her to fail Kindergarten? Kids have a HUGE mental growth spurt somewhere between the start of Kindergarten and the end of first grade. It is huge, they become sponges and learn just about everything.

I would think she deserves a chance to succeed before she is considered to be failing. I would let her go so she is with her friends.


answers from Hartford on

Because she's socially immature, I wouldn't send her to kindergarten yet. Let her stay in preschool another year and mature another year. You won't regret it. Better to do that now than have to hold her back a second year in kindergarten, first grade, or second grade as all of her friends have to move on and leave her behind. It will be easier for her now.



answers from Chicago on

My son turned 5 August 27th, his first day of all-day Kindergarten. He is now in 4th grade and continues getting As and Bs in school. At the time I was in more of a dilemma about full day Kindergarten and his age, additionally he is a "boy" and many hold boys back anyway. I talked to the pre-school teacher, the kindergarten teacher and the principal of the school. I went over the pros and cons, and one bit of advice from his 3s pre-school teacher resonated.... she had two boys with late (summer birthdays) she too considered holding them back, but opted to send them on. Successfully, both boys did well in all areas and were flourishing in college. My son is not the tallest in the class, and is close to the shortest, and I have no regret to sending him when I did. As parents we sometimes over-think for our kids without giving them the chance to succeed or fail. If she is academically ready, I wouldn't hold her -- you will then be faced with finding her challenges and no matter what age a child is they progress at their own pace socially. Good luck!



answers from Seattle on

I would suggest giving her another year before she starts K.

I read a response on this site from a middle school teacher regarding the same question. She said that, even if a kiddo could deal with being the youngest in the early grades, the age difference becomes more of an impediment in junior high. At that time, it's helpful to be slightly older.



answers from Milwaukee on

I guess I'm confused about kindergarten. I thought it, at least in our school district is was called 5k. Our daughter does not make the cutoff date. That date is Sept 1st, although her birthday is before October. My husband and I feel that she is ready so we will be applying for an early entrance admission for her. I guess we feel that if we wait 1 more year, then she's going to be a 6yr old in 5k. But the school says that the early entrance application kids need to meet with a psychologist to make sure that they feel the child is ready. If our daughter is not, then she will obviously wait another year. I have stayed at home with both of my girls and am starting to sign my eldest up for classes and such so she will start getting adjusted to time away from me. I am not ready yet but feel selfish, I guess, if I keep her home for another yr. Will see what happens. I, myself, had to pretest to get into kindergarten as well. Never had any problems. Yes, I was younger than most, but there are always other kids in the same boat. I could really care less about the driving stuff and was pretty happy graduating from college at age 21. Our kids will always be influenced by others, regardless of age. Hopefully, from early on, we can guide them in the right directions and they will make the right decisions on who are good influences and who are not! Good luck on your decision!



answers from New York on

Here is my experience. I started K at 4. At the time the cutoff date in our school was December 31. My birthday is December 28. I was the youngest and smallest and very shy. Also my sister was born the same week I started K (I remember my dad bringing me my first day). I didn't have a great time in K but had a very good 1st grade teacher. Then we moved schools and my parents and the school decided to have me do 1st again in the new school. So I was always the oldest after that. I did well in school and I do recall sometimes being annoyed by the immature behavior (especially in Jr. high). It was better after I got put in the gifted program in 4th grade.

My son is a Feb birthday so he isn't one of the younger kids--but boy was he one of the more immature ones in preschool. He really needed the 2 full years (including summers) in preschool to be ready for K. I don't know your daughter. Of the kids my son is in school with it seems like the boys are more commonly the ones that are immature in a squirmy, disruptive way. But I saw so much improvement in his behavior, especially his ability to control his impulses and follow directions between 4.5 and 5.5 (though there is still plenty of room to improve still).

The only other thing I can add is I have friends who were almost a full year younger in the same grade and did pretty well. One is very capable and outgoing, was always an honor student even through college and is now a lawyer. Someone is always going to be the youngest in the class.



answers from Houston on

Held both kids back. Held our daughter in 3rd grade birthday is 8/22. She was passing but struggling. I wanted her to be successful in school and felt that her foundation was weak. She repeated 3rd and after that was on the honor roll. She was in National Honor Society in high School and just received a 3.6 in college. She graduates with her Bachelors in May!!!

Held our son back in kinder birthdate 9/13. Our cut off was October 1. He definitely needed to be held back. Smart but immature. He should have been in GT in elem school but wasn't and I think he just got bored. He starts college in a couple of weeks. I truly believe he will do well in that setting. I hope!!!

If you aren't sure I would hold her back. The goal is for her to be successful in school not hate it.



answers from Washington DC on

I don't know if I have any advice, but thought I'd share my own experiences (if it helps, I don't know!) My birthday is in October and our school cut-off in NY was December 1. I started kindergarten at age 4, turning 5 in October. I had no issues whatsoever academically or socially. Actually, I sort of enjoyed being the "young one", and I don't really know why. That ended in college when all of my good friends turned 21. I wasn't 21 until October of my senior year! Ended up getting in trouble for a fake ID because I just HAD to go out with my friends. But anyway....

My oldest daughter has an end of August birthday. Our cut-off is September 30th. She is by far the youngest kid in the 5th grade. One of her closest friends actually turned 11 in July, before my daughter turned 10 in August. Do I regret sending her? Not necessarily. She is gifted (was selected to go to a different school for the Advanced Academic Program - we chose to keep her at our neighborhood school, but that's a different story altogether) School has always been easy for her and I don't see it changing. Who know, maybe it will? I do notice that she is not quite as socially mature as some of the other 5th graders. But she has gravitated towards other kids like her and has lots of really nice friends. She is not interested in some of the things that her peers are (boys, looking good, mean girl type behavior) She is just herself and she's confident about it. If she lacked confidence I might worry. But she's happy and doing well, so for now all is good.

Daughter #2 is a November baby, and she missed the school cut-off by 5 weeks. She is one of the oldest in 2nd grade (she is 8) What I've noticed is that she is much more mature than her peers, and can't stand goofy behavior, kids not paying attention or doing the right thing in school. I really don't know if this has anything to do with her age or it's just her personality. I'm definitely beginning to see more leadership qualities in her. And I'm happy she is where she is.

Anyway, it truly is a tough call. I'm sort of a believer of sending a child to school when she is eligible, but only YOU can really know what is best for your own kid. I hope I don't end up regretting sending my daughter at age 5. It will be interesting to watch my two - one being the youngest in her class, one being the oldest. Sort of a social experiment - kidding! Good luck in your decision.



answers from Rockford on

My daughter's birthday is July 19th and the cutoff here is Sept. 1st. My DD is ahead academically and a little socially immature also. After thinking it through I knew she would be bored with preschool level stuff for another year. So we decided to send her to K. Many of the kids are 6 already and she has made friends with the 1st and 2nd graders too. My thoughts were that she can try out K and if it doesn't work out she can always repeat K. I am glad we sent her to K. She is reading and doing well academically and will hopefully mature more and more as the year goes on! Good Luck!



answers from Detroit on

My duaghter is 20 days past the cutoff.. so she went to kinder at 5 3/4. She is at the top of her class. There is a chart with all the kids birthdays on the wall.. there is artwork and classwork hanging up in the classroom. YOu can almost match the "good" pictures and great printing to the oldest kids in the class. (this class seems to have a lot of kids with birthdays just before and just after the cutoff for admission. -- not alot of kids with birthdays in the middle of the year.

That being said.. our kindergarden is moving slowly..they have to teach to the lowest level in the class. My daughter says kinder is easy.. she is not being challenged at all.

I would move forward with enrolling her in kinder to keep her with her peers. She has months to mature and grow. If on the first day of school she seems still not ready.. you can remove her. Or better yet .. let her try it for a while --- weeks or months and see how it goes. It is hard to predict how and when kids will mature..



answers from Kansas City on

I didn't even read all the other responses, because everyone does the best for their child with the information they have at the time.

Our son's birthday is August 29th. Yep, we started him in kindergarten when he was 4 and he did just fine. He did not have issues socially, academically or even in sports which is something I heard a lot later. I can tell you with the utmost honesty that the ONLY time his young age was an issue was when all the buddies were driving sometimes a full year before he was. He's now 21.

Our daughter's birthday is October 1st. Because she's a girl, or because she was 4 years younger than her brother and wanted 'work' when he came home with homework, or because she liked yogurt as a baby. . . . .I'm being silly, but you get the point, she was sooooooo ready for school. I petitioned our school district at the time to see if there was some sort of assessment she could take and go ahead and start school. NOPE, she wasn't 5 by the August 31st cut off, too bad. She too has done just fine, but is far more mature than most in her grade level.

Bottom line is just what I said in the beginning, YOU need to do what is best for YOUR child and YOUR family with the information you have at the time.



answers from Chicago on

Something else to consider- in some cities you do not have the option to hold your child back. The kids are placed according to their age cycle and according to the law and governing rules for that district. It may not be your decision.



answers from Los Angeles on

Does she turn 4 or 5 on July 31st? I'm not clear on that part...

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