Should I Have My Young 6 Yo Daughter Repeat K or Move on to 1St?

Updated on June 18, 2013
G.C. asks from Hialeah, FL
17 answers

I have a big decision to make and would love some advice and perspective! My daughter has completed k and did so with flying colors! She made all As all year long and made great progress. Her bday is sept. 12 so she misses the cutoff by 11 days. So technically she should just now this year be going into k not 1st! She is actually going into 1st at 5 and turning 6 after a few weeks into school! So last schoolyear, i put her in early at a private school because I thought she was ready and so off she went without a doubt in my mind at that time! I didnt worry then, As I was planning on having her do k again at the public school if she did not do well! I didnt want her to waste an entire schoolyear due to being 11 days shy of the cutoff. So now that she did do well academically I do have second thoughts about 1st. My concerns are with her being so shy! And of course being the very youngest always! She does take time to warm up to adults and kids and in that arena she did struggle a bit in k! The teacher and I both had to help her come out of her shell, but by the end she was fine for the most part! She had friends although by far not the most social child! Academicaly, I know she will be fine but I wonder if an extra year in k might just be what she needs to grow socially. Academically shes really at a beginning to mid 1st grade level so shes not advanced just exactly where I think is average for 1st. So should I have her repeat k and let her have a really easy year and focus on growing socially or move on to 1st? I also dont like the fact that she would be by far one of the oldest turning 6 right at the beginning of k! And eespecially with already having been exposed to k! So should shyness be such a huge deciding factor in this decision? I just want to make the best decision for my daughter!

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So What Happened?

Hi everyone,
Just wanted to update you on my decision since June! I wanted to thank you all so much for your advice and know that it really helped me in making my decision! I finally decided on putting her in first grade and she is very excited to not do Kindergarten again! She will always be the youngest in her class and is among the shortest in the class as well due to her age, (which is what I was afraid of) but I think everything will work out for the best! There are actually 8 other children in the class with summer birthdays, making them VERY close to her age, with only a few weeks to a few months older than her. I am of course a little nervous with her keeping up academically, but my heart just could not put her in K again, just because it was the safe decision for her! I finally realized that I have to give my daughter ALOT more credit than I have been giving her so far! And I know she will succeed in first grade!! Thanks again for all your support and words that really hit home! :)

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answers from Missoula on

A shy kid is at 5 is likely to be a shy kid at 6 and 8 and 10. What you are describing sounds to me like this is part of her personality and not something she is going to grow out of. Some people are gregarious, some are not. I was a shy kid at 5 and am now a reasonably shy adult at 32. It's who I am.

I would not have a kid who had completed K (and done well) and was academically ready for 1st grade repeat K. My son started K early, at 4 almost 5, and is heading to 1st grade next year, at 5, almost 6. I wouldn't even consider having him repeat K so that he was one of the older kids in the class rather than the youngest, but I realize that leaves me in the minority. He is also on the shy side, but again, I would never have him repeat a grade for that reason.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Kids are supposed to be 5 when they start kindergarten. They're supposed to be 6 when they start first grade.

With what you've said I understand you to mean that you have a 6 year old child that has completed kindergarten. She is 6, not 5 correct?

If she is 6 she is too old to start kindergarten. She is supposed to be in first grade. You age specifications are so confusing. I am probably just lost.

If she has done kindergarten and passed why in the world would you even consider flunking her/holding her back?

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answers from New York on

I think there are reasons to have a child repeat a grade, but this doesn't sound like one of them.

As the shy mom of a shy child, I am (shyly) a bit of an advocate for shy rights. I think the world needs shy people. We are watchers and listeners, and a society in trouble and flux needs all the watching and listening it can get. In other words, I don't think shyness is necessarily a problem at all.

Shy kids are almost always sensitive kids too, and your daughter will be likely to internalize negative messages from being made to repeat a grade -- that she wasn't good enough or smart enough, that she failed somehow.

Instead of just sticking her in kindergarten again, why not be proactive about helping her make friends? Ask the teacher to recommend a few sweet, well-mannered girls, and then reach out to their parents for one-on-one playdates.

And please, be sure to let your daughter that you love and value her for who she is -- that you wouldn't trade her in for some raucous, life-of-the party girl in a million, billion years. Shy kids really pick up on unspoken messages. Please just make sure yours are positive ones.

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answers from Miami on

No, don't put her back in kindergarten. She doesn't have behavioral problems. She isn't starkly immature. She is doing great academically. There is absolutely NO reason to hold her back.

She may be shy ALL HER LIFE. Don't hold it against her. Don't label her with the word "shy", especially in front of her. Don't use the word to "explain away" her reluctance to jump in to being around people she doesn't know. That handicaps a child.

The time to have held her back has come and gone. Keeping her in preschool for another year would have been when you would have done it. Now she is ready for first grade. An "easy" year in kindergarten would translate to lazy year, and it won't "fix" her shy personality, mom.

You can't hold her back from everything just because she needs to grow socially. Being with others, moving forward, is what will help her grow socially.

If you have further worries on this, go to the public school, bring her papers from her kinder, and talk to the guidance counselor. The counselor may want to test her for school readiness with the understanding that she has already completed kinder. I feel very sure that the counselor will agree that first grade is where she needs to be...

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answers from Austin on

She will do great in 1st grade. Our daughter was shy and still is shy around people she does not know.. But once she knows you!! She takes off.

No worries mom, she s going to bloom into her own person..

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answers from Portland on

Move on to first. For so many good reasons. The studies I have read on holding kids back for social reasons suggests that some kids-- instead of moving beyond themselves and bringing themselves 'up'--- will actually stay at the maturity level of their younger peers. Being in a class group which is slightly older can help bring her 'up' to the class 'average' of social development.

Besides, she'd be bored doing K again. I would highly suggest talking to the school counselor about ways to help your child 'join in' if that's what she wants to do. (I have a son like this, and got some great feedback from the school counselor, which is why I suggest it. We've made some big strides...) And don't forget, there are shy first, second, third graders, etc. :) This isn't something that needs 'fixing'... with maturity and more successful interactions, she'll be likely to become more confident. Making her repeat K will only worsen what you are seeing because it will affect how she perceives herself.

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answers from Chicago on

I take a while to warm up to strangers. I don't see how repeating a year will change an innate inclinations. What I see happening is your daughter being bored and getting turned off to schooling.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Put her in 1st, but do whatever you can to arrange playdates over the summer with other girls who will also be in 1st grade. I think she'll be fine either way, but it might make it a bit easier if she knows one or two other faces on the playground the 1st few days, until she gets to know her classmates.

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answers from Santa Fe on

I do not think you should hold her back. I'm not sure why you think repeating kindergarten will help with shyness. Working on social skills happens in every grade. She is not that much younger than the other kids. There are probably kids in her class with October, November, December birthdays that are just about as "young" as she is. Shyness is often just a personality type...and something to work on so you get along with others. But not a reason to hold a child back a year! If you hold her back she will be bored academically. One thing I would do is invite a girl over from her class one afternoon a week to have a playdate. That way she can bond one on one with some of the other kids. Have her do one school club or one after school activity that she enjoys...she can work on making friends in that setting too.

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answers from Columbia on

Move her on to first. She'll have plenty of time to grow socially, and the act of being promoted into the higher grades increases confidence.

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answers from New York on

Move her to first definitely. Shy! That might just be her personality. Not every child is a social butterfly. These are definitely not reasons to keep her back.

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answers from Washington DC on

Talk to the public school if that's where she's going. Discuss that she has done very well academically but is younger than some of her classmates. Ask if they do a pre-entrance exam/evaluation (some schools do). They may also be able to place her in a class with a particular teacher who is good with reserved children.

My sister was shy but still went to 1st grade after a private school K teacher said she should be retained, and she did well. One of the things I considered when deciding preschool or K for my DD was that even if I put her in preschool again, I'd need a different program. We loved them, but they straight up said that DD is too advanced for their program. My DD's behavior problems are minor and we can work to overcome them.

I am also putting my DD into programs in the summer, like this week she is doing VBS. I am seeing that she is taking to these experiences well and it makes me feel more positive for her in the fall. If she crashes and burns, I will find a new preschool.

You need to also think, "Is my child socially awkward or just not me?" My sister is a major introvert. She had friends - but just a few. BUT those friends are STILL her friends, long after graduation. If your DD does make friends, is it really a problem? Quality friendships are more important than quantity. If you are an extrovert, take time to really evaluate her and her needs and see if this isn't just her being different from you.

So, if it's just being a little shy, I'd move her on to first.

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answers from Miami on

Move to first whether you go to public or stay private. If she is bored in school, she could be turned off to learning. In FL, most of the privates follow a similiar curriculum to the public schools unless you are in a montessori or other alternative type school. But the Jewish, Christian and Charter Schools all follow a curriculum that is virtually the same as the State of FL (I am in Broward County).

As long as your daughter was promoted to first grade, that is what you should do. If it makes you feel any better, I am 41 but started kindergarten when I was 4 as the cut off at the time was Dec. 1st and my birthday is September 13th. I was 17 when I graduated high school and 17 when I started at the University of Florida but now I have a MA degree. The only time my age ever impacted me at school was when everyone else was driving ahead of me.

Have a great time in 1st grade. My son just finished 1st and 2nd seems so much more grown up:( C.

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answers from St. Louis on

Okay I am kind of confused here. If she is six now she should have been in kindergarten last year or do you mean she will turn six this fall?

I wouldn't hold her back because bored kids have social issues.

My older daughter was a March baby so one of the youngest since there is a lot of red shirting in private grade schools. I wish I could have sent her at four because she has always been bored at school. Thankfully she reads a lot. Oh and she is now 23 and a teacher.

What I am saying is don't look at guidelines, look at 'your' child and how they are doing. Nothing else matters. If she is doing fine let her move on.

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answers from New York on

I was an October baby and started Kindergarten at 4. I did fine both academically and socially.

If she is doing well (sounds like very well) keep her going and move to first. Why have her repeat. She will be bored. And social skills/shyness has nothing to do with her age. It's just her personality.

I always say this when it comes to redshirting - you don't sit in a business meeting and hear someone make a dumb comment or suggestion only to have someone say, "What do you expect, he was the youngest in his class."

It all evens out and quickly. Good luck with your decision.

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answers from Albuquerque on

If this was my daughter, I would not have her repeat kindergarten. At this age, there is still a wide spectrum of acceptable social behaviors. As long as your daughter is able to warm up to other kids and had a few friends... she will benefit much more by being challenged in first grade academically than being bored at public kindergarten. Some children are simply more shy than others and an extra year with younger kids will not turn her into a more outgoing child.

There were two boys in my daughters' kindergarten class last year who were doing K for the second time (due to immaturity - not academic problems). One of the boys was still super shy by the end of the year; I can't see that the second year helped him at all. The other was the biggest and tallest in the class and the teacher was constantly having to redirect him because he was bored. He could do all of the K work before the year started since he'd done it the year before. In both cases, it was a bad idea to hold the boys back. I would imagine you'd think the same for your daughter... kids don't want an easy year. They want to have fun... and much of having fun is learning new things. She won't have that if you hold her back.

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answers from Boca Raton on

With her academic ability I would not repeat K. That would just be a wasted year.

My older son was always young for his class but good academically. He was also extremely shy in a certain sense (though now he's a performer LOL). I don't think the extra year would have made much difference with that.

I can understand your concern though. Little girls can seem so mature, and unfortunately sometimes catty, at an earlier age. But again, that could happen in a repeat scenario too.

My older son took a "gap year" this past year between his high school graduation and the start of college, so we joke that he got his extra year on the back end.

One of the things I love about homeschooling is that this sort of thing is not as much of an issue. I don't know if you are interested in that though.

Good luck with your decision.

ETA: Oops - just noticed you were in Hialeah. The big exception I would make to my above comments is if your child is in a very academically driven private school like Pinecrest. Then it might be worth it. I've also seen athletic boys benefit from that extra year - it tends to give them an edge in sports that require size (football).

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