Shy Dd, Should Hold Back a Year or Not

Updated on May 13, 2011
J.K. asks from Burbank, CA
21 answers

I am asking this question for my dear friend. She has a dd who will turn 5 in August and is scheduled to start kinder. She is concerned because dd is so shy in group settings and doesn't speak up in class but does follow along/instructions. Being in a class of 28+ kids, she might get overwhelmed. One on one and in a small group setting, she is fine.
Her mother is not sure if she should hold her back a year to see if she will open up more or just put her in Kinder in the fall. She is age appropriate in academics and when she is comfortable in her surroundings. In a group, she will play by herself and will answer with gestures, very rarely will she say a word or two. What do you think?
Thank you.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for the insight. My friend feels much better about her decision. Her DD is scheduled for kinder in the fall.

Featured Answers


answers from Sacramento on

I doubt she'll become a raving extrovert in a year. Some people are just shy, and that's their personality. I would say, why not put her in Kindergarten and see how she does? If it's a disaster, she can repeat the year. No big deal.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I wouldn't hinder a child academically. If she is academicallly ready for school, I would send her. I would see if the parents have another option for kindy, private school or something along those lines, maybe not for her entire school career but just for now. Some kids are very shy and waiting a year won't make them unshy. In school, it's possible that the teacher, social worker or other staff can help her to work on this issue.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Phoenix on

Holding her back isn't going to change her personality, nor will it help if she does have any undiagnosed issues (such as selective mutism or speech issues).

I would recommend that your friend consult with the school she plans on sending her daughter to, and not a bunch of strangers on the internet. We don't know the family, child, their situation, etc, and couldn't possibly give a well researched solution.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

My Daughter, WAS just like that.
My daughter, entered into Kinder, at 4 years old and turned 5, shortly after that.
She did fine!
She wanted to go to Kinder. She told us herself.

We have always taught my daughter, that her being "shy" was NOT a bad thing. It is HER. She is her own self. She is a confident and very wise child... who can "discern" people and she CHOOSES her friends. She is NOT a "follower."
Her personality... is her strength.
It is NOT a 'weakness.'
At all.

And we NEVER compared her, to other kids. Ever.
Because, we respect who SHE is.
She is, very aware of people.

But, my daughter was also shy AND emotionally mature, for her age.
She knew people, and would stand up for herself if wronged.
We taught her that.
My Daughter was shy too... and would not talk much in class. But she did fine. She is the type, that takes her time in judging her surroundings and the vibes and other kids. She is WISE. Much more so, than other kids her age.
We always taught her, that she be HERSELF.
She is her own, person.
Thus she is very confident.
Shyness does NOT equate, with being weak or not confident.

It is ALL about, how the parent, nurtures a child's 'strengths" and shyness is NOT a weakness.
MANY great minds and geniuses.... were introverts.

My daughter now at 8 years old, is more gregarious. Naturally.
BUT she is ALWAYS, herself.
AND she KNOWS herself, very well.
We are proud of her.

*My daughter entered Kinder, young. BUT she was not the "youngest."
And no, she does NOT under perform, just because of her age and that she entered Kindergarten at 4... then turning 5. Other kids were like her too.

all the best,

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Holding her back a year isn't necessarily going to "open her up." Kids come in all shapes and sizes, with all kinds of personalities. There's nothing wrong with being shy, it's especially common at that age. And by first grade they mature SO much, you may be surprised at this little girl a year from now!
Kindergarten is a time to get used to being part of a larger group, they aren't expected to be comfortable with it going in, though of course, some kids are.
I only think kids should be held back if they have serious mental or emotional delays.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

I love what SH said. I have to correct people still that my daughter is reserved and we like that she takes her time getting to know people.
I taught K for years. I even taught a class of 28. I have never taught someone that shy, but I had kids whose parents told me about all sorts of things. It really worked out fine.
Personally, I would NEVER allow my child to be the youngest in the class. As each year passes, she would be at a disadvantage.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I think she should go to kindergarten because she's going to have to learn to interact in a group sometime. I think if the parents let's the kindergarten teacher know of this, the teacher will be sensitive and understanding to the daughter's needs (do research and meet teachers before deciding obviously). Also, the parents should talk with the kid and reassure her that kindergarten is fun and reinforce the fact the you need to interact with other kids at school. They could make it fun with games or books or something - or just talk about it like it's no big deal.

And if she's held back what would happen at 6 years old if she's still shy and now she's older than all the kids which may make her feel even more out of place?

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answers from San Francisco on

She is the right age, she should go. Keeping her home isn't going to improve her social skills.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lansing on

Lots of people will tell you because of her birthday she needs to be held back. So that's a decision in itself.

As for her being shy being a reason to do so, I was never one to believe this. My daughter is also very shy (and for those that think I'm wrong for calling my daughter this, I don't look at it as a bad thing. In fact my daughter and I have regular talks about being shy and I even talk to her about how I was shy as a child and slowly grew out of it.) Its actually amazing to me what school has done for my daughter she has opened up quite a bit more. Even her preschool teacher noticed it when she visited a few months into Kindergarten this past fall. So in my opinion the more she is exposed the more she will open up. I was shy as a child and still am as an adult in certain situations. I don't think an extra year of schooling would have made one bit of difference.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I would hold least this will give her a slight advantage because she will be one of the oldest. It all seems to level out by around 3rd grade but IME you can really spot the younger ones in K-2.

You should tell your friend to go to the school her DD will be going to and ask to speak to their guidance counselor and also a kindergarten teachers. People at our school do that all the time when they are in question to hold or send.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Nope, no reason to hold her back. My daughter was the same way, but she did fine. She was really quiet and would never raise her hand, but she had friends in the playground and she kept up with the schoolwork just fine.

I was always the same way in school, and holding me back would not have made a difference. I am just shy, especially in a large group setting; I was like that all through school and I still am. But I did very well in school, in the gifted program and all-honors classes, and I even started a year earlier than normal (I wasn't five until October). I loved school, even though I was really shy.

I think that if she is ready academically, she should put her in and see how she does. It could just be her personality, and there's nothing wrong with being a little shy. It can seem frustrating, especially when you see other children who are so outgoing (this is how I sometimes felt with my daughter) but I think she'll probably do fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

There have been actual studies done that show children that start school as the "youngest" tend to under perform compared to the "older" kids in class. Think - she'll be barely 5 and in a room with kids that will be turning 6 during the school year.

It really is your choice but I don't think it would hurt to keep her back....


answers from Washington DC on

I am very shy. I would NEVER talk at school unless it was one on one. There is NO reason at all to hold someone back just because they have a shy personality. It would be the same as holding someone back because they talk too much. No difference. Everyone has their own personality and you can't change who they are. I am still shy to this day at 30 years old. It's who I am.



answers from Portland on

I didn't have the option of kindergarten when I was little, but my mom was very ambitious for me and got me into first grade even though my August birthday should have held me back a year. I was shy, and recall years of misery and uncertainty among older classmates. It wasn't until high school that I could occasionally speak up in classes where I was ahead of the curve. I think I would have done MUCH better throughout my whole childhood if I could have been the oldest in the class.

I did have issues with boredom even with the early placement, because many classes were too easy for me. That would have been a problem either way, and needed to be addressed, as it was, by giving me more challenging work. But the social adjustment was simply impossible for me.



answers from Los Angeles on

As someone else previously wrote, please have her tested for selective mutusium. My daughter was in preschool since the age of 3, her teacher was concerned that even after a year there was little improvement with her shyness and really stressed I take this serious and notify the school district. With the classrooms getting bigger she would get "lost in the crowd" and her shyness may prevent her from asking questions which could effect her academic performance later on...
After several attempts, school district psychologist, speech therapist and special Ed teacher did meet with her and also spoke with her preschool teacher for further insight. They worked with her (early intervention is sloop helpful) and I requested she be held back a year to develop self esteem an confidence. Her birthday is also late but not the reason I had her held. She now has friends in school and with the suggestion of her teacher she take tae Kwon do classes which help her release any frustration she may have.



answers from Los Angeles on

she can always do kinder two times.



answers from San Diego on

NO I would not hold her back for being shy, kinsergarten will help her be out of herself and giving to other children instead of all into herself. J.



answers from Dallas on

Can your friend put her daughter in a smaller school, perhaps a private school with a smaller class size? I think if she is ready academically then it would be a good idea to at least see how she does.



answers from Pittsfield on

Academic readiness and emotional readiness are 2 different things. My oldest son has a July b-day, and we opted to send him to pre-school 5 days a week when he was 5 because we didn't feel he was ready emotionally. Academically, there was no issue. He could identify all the letters of the alphabet when he was 2. I just felt he wasn't ready for the long days and him being separated from me for so long.
My other 2 kids were a full 5 and a half in September, and had no trouble adjusting, but looking back, I'm really glad I gave him that extra time to mature. He'll still graduate at 18 like his peers. My feeling was that he'll be in school for 13 years- why rush it? I would tell your friend that if she doesn't feel like her DD is ready, let her wait. I know someone who considered delaying, but wound up sending her, and regretted it. Her DD had a lot of trouble adjusting. If your friend's DD hasn't gone to pre-school, it would be really good to do that- 5 days a week, if available.
Sorry this is so scattered- I'm only half awake :)



answers from Spokane on

My daughter will be turning 5 in late August and starting Kindergarten a couple of weeks later - just like I did. I was fine, I'm sure my daughter will be as well.

Sometimes kids need some time to come out of their shells, but I'm a firm believer that school is for LEARNING. So if she's ready academically, then maybe it's best that she start now.

I also agree with what Susan said; some kids are just naturally more introverted and that's not a *bad* thing or something to be *fixed*.

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