To Have Emmy Repeat K or Not

Updated on April 12, 2012
J.M. asks from Doylestown, PA
20 answers

Ha I assume this topic will be going around a lot this time of year.

My daughter is 5 (9/3 birthday). Cutoff is 9/15 for this district. All other districts are 9/3 in the counties were close to. I pushed her to K because I couldnt afford another year of daycare assuming I could repeat her in K if needed. In the begining of the year she was so painfully shy she wouldn't even try to get answers right, she wouldn't even ask to go to the bathroom or eat lunch or play. The teacher would see her read on her own and then when asked a simple question she would get it wrong (J. because she'd answer with anything without thinking so she could be done). So her teacher was concerned.
Since then she tests at the top portion of her class for about 90% of her school work (apparently k algerbra is her weakpoint whatever that is.) I spoke to the teacher yesterday about Emmy, and she says shes come a far way, has a good amount of friends and is still the shy kid but will answer questions right (she learned her tests needed to be in the am and not in afternoon in her full day program and then she actually would answer)
She said she understands my concerns on how the future will be since she will always be the youngest and the shy kid, but says it would be my decision since she wouldn' have a leg to stand on asking her to be held back when shes in th advance reading group and can write (pretty well--said she;s not the top writier in the class but does VERY well) and also scores very high on all tests. She did say she still has some issues with some areas in math -but still tests high- she says shes seen her able to do complicated problems but sometimes gives wrong answers on simple ones without trying, J. like in the begining .

I'm torn. School is so diferent then it was when we were little. M. and my mom were both october kids who graduated at 17, but we were both shy. I wonder if I hold her back she'll master K and master all of the social skills that come with it. She has plenty of friends and plays well but she still is very sensitive and gets her feelings hurt very quick and still is so afraid to be wrong at times she doesnt try. I know she'll be fine in first grade but I worry she'll struggle as things get harder in the future.
The teacher said we could call in the school counselor and all have a "knights of the round table" discussion and see if they think she should be help back. The teacher is J. as torn. She said she could go either way, thrive at being held back and being a leader and master all of the skills or be shy and bored.
So what are your thoughts? Have you held back a kid for these reasons?

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So What Happened?

Jo I agree I J. am worried that she'll have trouble academically in the future and if I held her back in may prevent this. I do want her to be a tad less shy, mostly J. be more confident in herself and her own abilities. I was shy but not academically. I was proud to be right and I would tutor kids in math in first grade on up- our teachers felt a kid explaining it would do better.
T.F. Thanks for the advice. She will be in summer camp too. Shes in before and after for my work schedule now and I feel that helps her as well. She feels like a big shot having 2nd grader friends
Catherine- I agree partly. I don't think personality can be cured and I love her completely for who she is, but my mom and I both think we may not have been so shy if we were more confident in ourselves...thats why I ask. I don't want her to be the social butterfly, J. capable of not getting overly upset and shy and not so afraid to speak up for herself in social enviorments and school and it worries M. she'll be competing with kids for college and hs grades who are a year and sometimes more older than her

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answers from St. Louis on

Are you still shy? Ya know where this is going..... Holding her back is not going to change her being shy. If she is doing well in the academics then let her go on. :)

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answers from St. Louis on

I didn't read the below posts yet but, keep in mind that she has already made friends that will be moving on to first grade next year. You will be putting her in the position to "start over" so to speak at making friends. For a shy child, that can be difficult. I think as long as she is doing the work well, I would send her on to first grade. I think she will do J. great.

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answers from Dallas on

I agree to talk to the counselor.

I don't think holding back simply for social maturity issues is a good reason, especially if she is testing well for her level.

She will develop socially, all kids do at different times,etc. I teach mostly 1st grade and there are many children who test well but are still a bit shy and withdrawn. By the end of the year, most come out of their shell and have best friends, play groups, etc.

If it were M. and my daughter (now 17) was in K and testing well but shy, I would send her on to 1st grade where she will meet more challenges academically, be working in groups with other children and will get the social part.

In the meantime, over the summer, I would have her involved in play groups, maybe day camps, and any activity I could find to help her be more comfortable socially.

In the end, you are the mom and it is your decision.

Good luck.

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answers from Lakeland on

If she is doing so well academically then why hold her back. Some kids are J. really shy and they usually grow out of it. I would also be concerned that staying back she will get bored since she has already learned this work.
My daughter is the same age and she is also shy. She is the youngest in her class she started at 4 years old this past August (she turned 5 three days after school started). She is still shy but she is working to overcome it with her teachers help.
Getting over shyness and being the youngest one are a part of life no matter when in your life it happens. Holding back will only keep her from coming out of her shell.

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answers from San Francisco on

Okay... if you and your mom were both shy, and your daughter is shy, why would you think that making her repeat Kindergarten would make her the life of the party? Being shy is okay! My older daughter is a social butterfly, and her best friend is very shy, and they get along so well because they are so different. They both get the same grades, like the same kind of books and activities - the BFF has not suffered academically or socially because she is shy. She is a very sweet girl who is well-liked and respected by her teachers and peer group. From my point of view, not only is your child's personality not something that you need to "cure," this is part of who she is and it doesn't seem likely that she would change J. because she is sitting (bored) in a K classroom again next year.

I think at this point, holding your daughter back would be a detriment to her. She is doing well academically and is socially normal (in terms of being able to answer questions, make friends, etc). The things that concern you will not magically go away by spending another year in K, I don't think. For instance, if she rushes to give an answer, or doesn't really try to give the right answer, I think you need to let her know that you don't accept that, and why. Hold her accountable. That's something she can change, and you can help her.

These are J. my opinions - of course you know your daughter best. I have two daughters (2nd grade and 4th grade) who both have early birthdays and have done very well in school.

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answers from Atlanta on

I do understand your dilemma, and it's a tough choice. Our daughter is a late July birthday (cut off for our school is August), and we ended up keeping her in preschool for an extra year because the teacher felt she needed that extra time to mature. She ended up confident and more ready to take on leading roles due to having that time to grow (and not J. physically, though she is only in the mid-range for size now, despite being six months older than most of her classmates). This year (kindergarten), we were wondering whether we should skip her into second grade next year because her math ability and reading seemed way ahead of the other kids. My husband thought she might be bored in first grade. The kindergarten teacher made the case that the social development piece is more important now; being confident in her group matters more than being pushed intellectually at this point.

After reading the other posts, I'd add that if it's her temperament to be shy, that's J. fine--the world needs listeners as well as talkers! The question is whether she needs a little time now to become more confident. Maybe getting some input from the counselor would be good, since she or he will contribute some more experience and perspective to the mix? I have never heard a parent say they regretted holding a kid back, though boredom is not good either. [I think my daughter really resented being in the preschool that third year, especially when her brother kept harping on how she was so much 'smarter' than other kids because she could do math already!] J. remember that neither choice will be devastating or guaranteed to succeed, and your child can flourish either way.

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answers from Honolulu on

Both my kids are late born, and entered into Kindergarten at 4 then turned 5.
They are fine.
They were like your daughter.
They were also shy, and did fine per academics like your child.
My son is in Kinder now and is doing great, although when he entered Kinder he was "shy." My daughter was that way as well, and she is now in 4th grade and is FINE.
They both, blossomed, socially and in their aptitude for social situations. Of course, it is also because, I spent time on them, guiding them and teaching them about social innuendos and situations, since they were 2 years old. But they have a great solid sense of self. Which is also taught to a child, per guidance from the parent.
So even if "shy"... a child can also be very self-assured. Being "shy" does not mean, they are insecure or lacking. It simply means, that they are being themselves and simply are J. that way. It is not a "bad" thing.
J. as, being an "extroverted" kid, does not make that kid better than a shyer kid.

MANY kids are shy and sensitive. It is their development.
It is not a 'bad' thing.
Both my kids, are excellent at "reading" people and discerning people. EVEN if they can be "shy." So I am PROUD of them. I see it as a positive. Not a negative. Because, my kids, can CHOOSE their friends, are not followers and not copy cats. So even if "shy" they are self-assured.

A kid, all throughout school, will encounter many social situations. And they will learn from it. And as a parent you guide them through it.

Per your child being "afraid to be wrong..." well, J. encourage her to try "her best." Even adults make mistakes. NO one is "perfect." My daughter was like that in Kindergarten too. BUT she is no longer like that. She grew out of it.

Your child is good academically but you worry about her social aspects. And about her being "shy." But to M., that is not a reason to hold a child back. Because, some people are J. shy no matter how old they are. Introverts or Extroverts. No biggie. And J. because a person is like that, it does not mean they will ALWAYS be like that.

Per your child giving wrong answers sometimes. Well heck, isn't that what school is about???? NO CHILD, will give 100% accurate answers all the time. And everyone has bad days or good days. That is life.
And ALL kids... will be stronger in some areas than others, academically. Which is normal.

I let my kids be themselves. They make mistakes, they are good at their specific areas, they try their best, they know their talents and even if they were "shy" at times... they thrive. And they do J. fine.

I myself, was late born. Graduated at 17. I was shy & sensitive too... as a youngster. But it was no big deal. And later as I got older, I am now very extroverted. My Husband cannot even believe, that I used to be "shy."

You also have to realize, that there will be no perfect scenario.
But to M., there is no reason to hold her back.

If you always want your child to answer questions right and never wrong, and to be perfect in all subject matters, then, that is a bit excessive.
And it will self-defeat a child.

Again, being "shy"... has NOTHING TO DO WITH CONFIDENCE.
Both my kids are and were shy. Like your child. BUT, they are very self-assured children and KNOW who they are. I am PROUD of them.
And your child is young. They are NOT masters over their emotions, at this age. Heck, even some adults are not masters over their emotions either nor can they self-manage and they don't even have, the ability to self-reflect.

Since 2 years old, I have always J. taught my children to be themselves. And to know who they are. So even if shy, it never was a deficit, for them.

Don't hold your child back, for things that "you"... are feeling unsure of.
She is not you.
You are not her.

Really, I see your child as being a normal kid per her age.

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answers from Albuquerque on

I wouldn't hold a child back for the reasons you've stated. It sounds like she's doing well in kindergarten academically and is ready for first grade. She's shy... which is never easy, but holding her back isn't going to change her shyness. She's J. going to be older and perhaps taller than her classmates, which could make her self conscious and even more shy as she gets older.

If she was struggling with the academics, I'd say hold her back. But she has friends (even a few counts) and she's near the top of her class on the skills she needed to learn in kindergarten. If you and your mom were shy, then she's probably genetically predisposed to be shy. Keeping her back a year isn't going to help...

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answers from New York on

I don't think repeating a year of school is a cure for shyness. (For that matter, I don't think it's bad at all to be shy, but that's a topic for a different post.)

My cousin was held back in kindergarten for this very reason. She was doing fine academically, but she never, ever "spoke unless spoken to," and the teacher apparently concluded that she was so polite she was immature.

Well, my cousin was deeply, profoundly shamed by this experience. Granted, this was years and years ago, when repeating a year was much more stigmatized, but she got it into her head that she was stupid and had failed. She then became shy to the point of muteness.

Today, my cousin is an absolutely lovely young woman, and she's beginning to build a fine career for herself. But it took her well over 15 years to let go of the stigma of being "left back."

Beyond this one individual story, I also think being a month or two younger than other kids will matter less and less as your daughter gets older. So if it's not much of a problem now, why will it be a problem in the future?

Finally, instead of making her repeat a year of schol, why not try to give her some confidence-builders this summer? Can you sign her up for a theater camp or something? Those often help kids learn to speak up in groups.

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answers from Kansas City on

She may always be shy because that's her personality. Most likely she'll get less shy but never really outgoing. So that won't help holding her back. As for the reading, math, etc. she will come so far next year compared to kindergarten that you will be surprised. Also someone already said that she may be 'shamed' by repeating since she will know her friends are moving on and she's not. I would not do it. We did it with one of ours due to the school saying he was reading and pressure put on him to go to early reading class at 7 a.m. as a little kindergarten child. I took him out and home schooled him some but mainly let him play and learn and he repeated kindergarten and it destroyed him. From then on he felt he was 'dumb' and nothing we said or did changed that. I'd be very sure before I held her back.

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answers from Kansas City on

Personally I don't think repeating KG is going to "master" her shyness. She may J. be introverted and you can't change that. Two of most important and wonderful people I know are introverts. So there is NOTHING wrong with being shy and not the most outgoing.

This is not something that one can "change" make adjustments but it can't be changed. IMO.

So for this reason, no I would not hold my child back. If she was testing below average and unable to grasp what the work was then yes. If she was immature compared to the other students then maybe but it doesn't sound like she is.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I would not hold her back. She is already advanced and I am afraid she would be bored to tears if you hold her back.
My girls were very shy and quiet when they were toddlers. Growing up a shy quiet kid myself, I did not want this for them because I believe I missed out on quite a bit of fun because I was too quiet to speak up. At age 5 both my girls started taking drama classes. Since then they have been in numerous shows/musicals. Last summer they even performed for over 1,000 people in a talent show. Believe M. when I say they were not by nature outgoing kids but to see them today you would never know that:). Their teachers have also told M. that they are "leaders" among their peers. I attribute this to their drama instruction. (My daughters are in 8th and 3rd grade).

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answers from San Francisco on

If she's doing well academically, I don't think you should hold her back. If you do, you run the risk of her being bored next year and boredom at school can lead to other problems. Also, she might feel self-conscious when all the other kids have moved up but she doesn't. It sounds like all she's having trouble with is Kindergarten algebra and I'm with you, what the heck is that?

Let her move forward with her class.

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answers from Washington DC on

VERY tough decision, I know!! I was in your shoes a few years back. I have a daughter who made the school cut-off by 4 weeks. So, when she turned 5 off she went to kindergarten! She wasn't particularly shy, but there were other things making M. think, "Would she be better off if she repeated kindergarten?" I was as torn as you are. I met with the teacher, the counselor, you name it. No one could, or would, tell M. what to do!!

In the end, we decided to keep her going. She went to first grade that next year and did great. By the end of second grade she had been chosen to attend a special GT school (we chose not to send her, and some of the reason might go back to the whole kindergarten thing). She is now in 5th grade and is thriving, both academically and socially.

Would I be sorry if I had held her back? I don't think so. I guess my point in saying that is that I truly believe you won't damage her, whatever your decision may be.

Anyway, I don't know if that helps, but I J. wanted to share my story - from someone who has been in your shoes! Good luck with your decision :)

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answers from Dover on

J. on what you have said, my initial thoughts are that there is no reason to hold her back...some kids are J. shy but academically she is ready and in the few months between now and the start of the next school year can do alot for maturity. Since both you and the teacher are torn, I suggest you do bring the counselor in on a discussion but do it towards the end of May/beginning of June so she has basically the whole school year over with first.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I would never hold back a child that was old enough to be in the class. J. because she has a late birthday does not mean she will less smarter than her classmates, she sounds very intelligent and able to do the work. It sounds like she would be totally bored by doing the same level again.

Let her move up with these friends she has worked so hard to make. If they move up and she doesn't she has to start all over socially again. That would be very frustrating for her.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Ask your daughter. Explain the situation & ask her if she wants to do K again or move on to 2nd grade. Kids understand a whole lot more than most people give them credit for. And they know themselves better than anyone else. You can tell her you will make the final decision, but that you wanted her opinion. It is her life after all.
Also, consider that she has friends now that she may not want to leave. She might not make friends with the younger K kids if held back. Maybe you can talk to the counselor & see if she can be put in a 1st grade class with one of her friends from this year. So, at least she has a buddy.

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answers from Sharon on

I think she sounds pretty smart, and I would not hold her back if it were my child. 1) She has friends now, and would have to start all over again if held back 2) Sounds like she would be board if held back. I don't think academics is the issue, rather social skills it seems. Holding her back won't help her develop her confidence or social skills. I think maybe activities outside of school would be a good idea. Also, children tend to become more socially active as the get older. She may blossom in 1st/2nd grade although, she will likely always be shy. If you are really unsure about what to do, the school councilor sounds like a good idea. She may be able to give you some advice about her socially as well as academically. Best of luck!

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answers from Bellingham on

J., this same thing happened with my eldest. He was young and small and shy. He was OK academically, but his teacher recommended he repeat K. He did, and it was the best thing we could have done for him. He fit in better with the new Ks, excelled academically, and socially blossomed. He participates much more in class discussions too. For my boy, it was indubitably the right thing to do.

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answers from Detroit on

you say you and your mom are shy. some people are J. shy. but if she can do the work in school.. I would let her go on. I would find things to do with her that will help with social skills.. maybe classes over the summer dance, art.. have her join daisy doesnt matter wheat the activity is.. J. get her aroudn other kids so she can get more experience with kids.. what will you do for childcare for the usmmer?? find a good summer daycare so she can have more experience with kids for the entire summer.

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