Riley has what I suppose is his first best friend, a boy named A. whose family moved here from India a couple years ago. They are in the same preschool class and I suspect A.’s interest in Transformers has a lot to do with Riley’s current obsession with Autobots and Decepticons and “Octomus Prime” and Bumblebee and Oh My God There Are So Many Fucking Transformers I Can’t Even Name Them All Oh Wait Yes I Can Buzzsaw Hound Ratchet Starscream Etc Etc Etc Etc.

A’s mother was nice enough to propose a play date a while back and we’ve met them a few times since, usually on a weekend afternoon at a playground where Riley and A. can go nuts and Dylan can scurry after them, beaming with the deranged joy of a younger brother getting to play with the big kids.

Last Sunday we congregated at a park so Riley and A. could ride bikes (with Dylan toodling around on his tricycle) and A’s mom asked us where Riley was going to school next year. A. would be moving on to kindergarten at a public school; was Riley?

Well, I said, and kind of trailed off for a minute.

The thing is, we don’t plan to do that, and it suddenly felt like an awkward conversation, like the fact that we were making different choices somehow underscored that one was right and one was wrong. I mean, I know better, but still.

Riley’s birthday is August 31st, so he will be five on the cutoff day for kindergarten. Which means we could send him to regular kindergarten, but he would be the very youngest child in class.

I have no doubts he would do perfectly fine academically, because he’s a smart kid who mastered the basics a long time ago. I’m less sure about his maturity level, his emotions, and his ability to pay attention.

His center has a kindergarten program, so he can stay there another year and get the same level of education he’d get in a regular school. It’s another year of siphoning our checking account nearly dry every month, but of course public kindergarten with before and after school care wouldn’t be inexpensive either. That’s another thing: I really, really hope by the time he is going to public school—the big cheery-looking one just a few blocks away, assuming we still live in the area—that we have the sort of schedule that allows one of us to walk him over there in the morning and pick him up in the afternoon. I don’t want him to have to stay after school is over, waiting for one of his parents to get off work.

Anyway, I hope we’re doing the right thing keeping him in the same place for now. I’m kind of saddened to think about his best friend moving on while Riley stays in the same place, but they would have separated anyway. It’s just hard to know who will be getting the better experience. And how much it varies by kid, and by teacher, and by a thousand other factors that are impossible to predict.

In other confusing developmental news, Dylan has decided he is terrified of lawnmowers. The trigger for this happened a couple weeks ago when someone had a leaf blower nearby and the noise scared the shit out of him. He flips out every time we leave the house, crying and screaming and wanting to be carried, and if there is even a distant drone of a lawnmower—which is nonstop this time of year while the grass is growing like gangbusters—he refuses to be outside. Last weekend, when we finally had two consecutive days of amazing weather, I couldn’t get him to come in the backyard at all. If we forced it, he stood there shrieking until I thought he was going to barf.

I’d put headphones on him, but, well, HA HA HA HA no. This is the same kid who will Firestarter your face off if you try and put his hood up, so.

It reminds me of the stage Riley went through where he was scared of planes flying overhead, and man, that went on for a long time. I don’t think anything helped, it was weeks of screaming and running across the backyard to get away from the jet buzzing 25,000 feet above his head.

So! Any advice or war stories about kindergarten cutoffs and whether to send a kid or hold them back, or toddlers who refuse to go outside right when the weather finally lets us leave the damn house? Or if neither of those topics interests you, how about potty training, because hey, I’m kind of flailing at that, too.

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js
js
12 years ago

Ok, the lawnmower issue, you are on your own with THAT suckage! Good luck with that!

The kindergarten thing: My SIL had a similar issue. My nephew (8) is freakishly smart to the point where I (30) won’t play educational games with him because I feel like a mouth-breathing cave dweller! He was right on the cut off too and the school recommend that he start, but my SIL felt that he would do better, maturity wise to stay in his grade. Since then, they’ve recommended him skipping grades, but she maintains that he is not mature enough to handle it (which he’s not). However, then they dealt with the battle that his grades SUCKED because he was so bored. The solution was to supplement him with “advanced work” to keep him engaged, but still keep him with peers his own age (where, maturity-wise) he needed to be. I think that if Riley is getting educated at his daycare then I would keep him out also. There’s just so much of a maturity level difference sometimes that it can be distracting. You, obviously, know your boy and what he can handle. But I think the maturity issue with boys is (sadly to say) different from girls.

On a side note, these college courses you’re taking will come in handy when the boys start bringing home homework. My daughter (9) brings Math home and I usually runaway screaming “Call GRANDPA! He has advanced degrees in engineering! MY EYES! MY EYES!”

Miche
Miche
12 years ago

My son is just a few months younger than Dylan. We recently bought him a bubble lawn mower from Costco, and he LOVES it. Perhaps having his own lawn mower would help him get over his phobia? Maybe show him a few videos of lawn mowers on youtube or something, where he can check them out and you can control the volume? Good luck, and I’ll be standing by waiting on potty training advice!

radiosound
radiosound
12 years ago

My boy was born on our cutoff day. Smart as hell from a young age, but a very sensitive little guy.

We elected to hold him, and haven’t regretted it for a day. I have seen lots of kids who were too young to move up and have yet to meet a parent who regretted waiting a year.

cbrks12
cbrks12
12 years ago

My son’s 5th birthday was in July, and although an educator firmly recommeded that boys with summer birthdays be held back a year, I knew better. Within a week I realized that we had made a bad decision and reversed back to a church daycare/kindergarten program for a year. He is now 17, and I would hold him back that year given the chance again.

Deb
Deb
12 years ago

No stories about refusing to go outside… but kindergarten YES!
My birthday is 10/28, and many moons ago in NY the cutoff was 11/1… SO I was always THE youngest kid in the class. I didn’t learn to drive until my senior year, I went to college at 17. If I had been held back a year I think it would have done a lot for my self esteem, not to mention the fact that I was NOT ready to go to college at 17! My son is 15 days from the cutoff date – we are very strongly considering holding him back. Again, academically NO PROBLEM – he’ll take on any older kid, but um… maturity-wise – he’s staying put. Here in OH there is something called a Geselle test – it looks at a child’s maturity. Kindergarten where my sons go requires it… you might look into it locally. It’s given by a psychologist, takes maybe 10 minutes & cost us $35. Not a bad price to pay for peace of mind. The psychologist asks them some questions, has them do some tasks & basically watches what/how they do what is asked of them. Easy Peasy.
ALSO boys seem to develop maturity at a later date than girls – another reason we are most likely holding him back.
Whatever works in your house for your family is what is right for you. Same goes for other’s houses – might be something completely opposite of yours, but hey, if it works – rock on!!!

Aileen
Aileen
12 years ago

There’s a big difference b/w the daycare Kindergarten and the school one, so one thing to consider if what happens in Grade 1? Which I assume is next year? How will he adjust to being in a new school with a more formal environment all of a sudden?

With no judgment.

Kristi
12 years ago

My son’s bday is Aug 30th so I feel your pain. He was very academically ready – but not socially or emotionally. We decided to keep him in preschool for another year and start K the next year. He’s just finishing up 1st grade now and is perfectly adjusted – best decision for us. Your decision sounds like a good one also :)

My kids didn’t potty train until well after their 3rd birthdays because I was too lazy to deal with it!

Dude, you’re on your own with the lawnmower issue. Ayeeeeeeee!!!

Kate
12 years ago

I would HIGHLY recommend holding off on kindergarten for another year, like you plan on doing. My son’s birthday is August 21st and I DID start him when he was barely 5. You’re absolutely right: academically they may be ready, but socially, maturity wise, focus, concentration, emotionally, endurance-wise…they are not. And while it might not be an issue during kindergarten (our’s was 1/2 day), it will surface at some point. My son is now in 2nd grade and we’ve just pulled him out of school to homeschool because of various problems, mostly with his specific school, but 1st grade was a challenge. He just didn’t have the stamina at barely 6 to endure a whole day of sitting still, learning, focusing… I’ve been saying for the last year that I wished we’d waited to start him in school until he was 6. Little boys learn best thru gross motor skills and classrooms are geared for fine motor skills.

I could go on and on, but I tell anyone who is on the fence to WAIT. You certainly aren’t going to do him any detriment by making him wait, but IMHO you could by sending him too soon.

Just my two cents.

Angella
12 years ago

Do whatever you think is best for him based on the two options. Really.

The Kindergarten cut-off up here is December 31st and Graham’s birthday is December 29th, which means that he wasn’t even five yet when he went to school. We had lots of people tell us we should hold him back based on his age but his preschool teachers told us they thought he was ready.

He was definitely younger than the other kids on a maturity level, but had (still does) a great group of boys in his class. He’s now in second grade and you’d never know he’s the youngest kid in the class based on his performance at school.

nanann
12 years ago

I’ve enjoyed reading you for some time now b/c our kids are the exact same ages, except mine are of the feminine variety.

Anyway, my oldest Elena has her 5th birthday on August 24th. We have decided we are definitely sending her to kindergarten. I kind of think of it as a “free” year since she’ll be the absolute youngest, and figure I can always redo kindergarten if it doesn’t work out. Hopefully that wouldn’t be too psychologically damaging?

But we are all sorts of stressed about *where*. Our public school, which is only a 3 minute walk away, doesn’t really impress us, so we’ve been looking into charter schools and our school district’s Spanish immersion/dual language program. My husband definitely wants a certain charter school we’ve gotten into by lottery. I definitely want the Spanish immersion program. (hello, we are in Texas and my girls are half-hispanic thanks to him and he hasn’t bothered teaching them a lick of Spanish despite being fluent).

So there. I just one-upped your problem with my own.

Who knew KINDERGARTEN would be so darn stressful!??!

Kelly
12 years ago

We have chosen to homeschool and that always makes for squirmy conversations. I just say, “We are doing what is best for our family.” Most people think we are religious freaks (we’re actually atheists), but explaining the incredibly complicated decision making process is too much and makes me sound defensive. Do what is right for your kid and the cool people in your life will accept it and the others will fade away. I think American kids go to kindergarten too soon anyway, so stick to your guns.

Alyce
Alyce
12 years ago

I think you’re doing the right thing about Kindergarten and having Riley wait a year. You are exactly right that he can handle the work now and would likely do just fine.

In my experience the kids with the early birthdays often do step up to the plate. And in some cases challenges/issues don’t reveal themselves until late elementary or even middle school. It can be preposterously hard to make a change then. Have him take the time now. Save that adorable public school for next year.

maggie
12 years ago

I can totally sympathize with the kindergarten debate. In Michigan where I live, the cutoff is December 1 and my daughter will turn 5 on Nov 2, so she will be 4 still when school starts, which is very young. However, we are sending her to school, mostly because I am sick of spending so much on daycare, but I also truly think (hope) she is ready. I guess we will find out. Honestly, whatever you decide will be the right choice for you and it will all be fine.

As for the lawnmower thing, my baby tends to have some irrational fears too, but as hard as it may be, it seems that forcing her to face them and realize it is not so scary has worked best for us. Allowing the fear to shape our life has only led to reinforcing the behavior. Just my 2 cents.

Good luck on all fronts, including the potty training. My first born was MUCH easier than my second. The second (who is 4.5) still sometimes has accidents :(

Lauren
12 years ago

Oh man. *I* definitely want my kid to start kindergarten sooner rather than later. But you know your kid best, and if you think he could benefit from hanging back, go for it. I started kindergarten at age 4 and didn’t turn 5 til a solid 2 months in (my birthday is right before Halloween, which was the cutoff date in 19mumblemumble). I definitely think I was ready and was totally into school (until 5 grade, but that’s a tale for another day). If your gut says no, then you know what to do. I mean, if you did start him and it’s awful, couldn’t you pull him out? As far as potty training, I just let my son walk around with no pants or underpants and stuck him on the toilet every half hour or hour for a few weeks. He picked up on it pretty quick and really didn’t have many accidents. I consider it my payback for having such a shitty pregnancy. As for the Lawnmower Man…I don’t know. Kids are just weird like that. I agree with Miche, though. It might lessen the level of terror Good luck!!

Erika
Erika
12 years ago

Linda,

I made this exact choice last year. My son went to Jr-K instead of kindergarten because of his birthday. I wasn’t worried though because I didn’t feel as if he was losing anything. His private school is wonderful about teaching students at their level, whatever it is. He learned to read this year and he’s doing math on a 3rd grade level at age five. BUT he still took a nap everyday and he danced TWICE A DAY on the reading circle. He got everything he needed because he was “held back”. I know he wouldn’t have done as well in kindergarten because he wasn’t ready for the stricter rules of kindergarten.

kirwin @ graceful creative

You shouldn’t feel guilty or embarrassed (or —) about your decision to keep him back another year. My son is an October birthday, and we kept him back. Academically, he would’ve been fine, but socially — no! He’s a little more reserved and shy and needed another year of social development. He’s finishing his Kinder year right now, and I don’t regret it for a second.

BTW, you can always go down to your local school and ask one of the kinder teachers. I’d be surprised if they disagreed with your decision. You’re giving your son the gift of time.

CBO
CBO
12 years ago

Jules went thru that exact same thing as well. She didn’t like having things on her. We ended up buying a small set of shooting ear protectors. They look like the old-style over the ear headphones. We bought a bright colored set that we knew she’d like the look off and we gave her a day or two to adjust. Worked like a charm. I was able to start mowing the lawn again without screaming coming from the house. We made her think it was a reward for a game and the was cool with it after that.

Marie Green
12 years ago

I’d hold Riley for another year. The benefits of holding him outweigh the risks of sending a kid that’s not quite ready. In our area, it’s very common to hold kids with summer birthdays, and none of my friends that have done it have regretted it. Kindergarten is the new 1st grade, and no matter how bright a child is, if s/he’s not ready to sit still all day it’s going to be a tough year. I’m guessing Riley will still need to MOVE HIS LITTLE BODY, and there’s nothing wrong with letting him have an extra year to do that.

Lawnmowers: we are currently in the midst of an epic barfing phobia w/ my 7 year old- she’s sick and crying every morning b/c she doesn’t want to go to school in case someone barfs- 2 kids did last week, right in front of her. It’s awful. No advice, but I feel for you.

Jean
Jean
12 years ago

I have heard the advice of many wise mothers that holding off a year on kindergarten, if there is ANY debate, will be a good idea. It’s a year, they say, that you “can’t get back” if you decide to make the move too soon.

Wendy
Wendy
12 years ago

As an educator, my opinion is that if you’re having even the slightest thought that Riley is not ready to go to kindergarten, then give him the year. Specific areas to consider are maturity and flexibility. Is Riley a leader or a follower? This often is a trait that is determined by developmental level…and certainly a big one to think about once he’s in the teenage years of peer pressure. Is he outgoing or timid? This can often be a personality trait but can also come with age. You certainly know him best…go with your gut. I’ve heard parents who say they’ve regretted sending their child early but have yet to hear a parent say they regretted holding their child out a year. Getting the input of his teachers where he is now would also be helpful…they see him in relation to, and interacting with, his peers. They may have some insight that may help.
Good luck…and remember that whatever you decide will be the right decision!

Heather
12 years ago

You know best when it comes to your babies. If your gut is telling you to keep Riley there, do that.
My daughter is a couple of weeks younger than Dylan and I haven’t even seriously considered potty training (sure, it’s a random thought every now and again). We have her potty sitting beside ours, it has been for a damn year. I figure she’ll use it when she is ready. If she shows no interest towards the end of the year I’ll put forth some major effort.
Thanks GOD Hayden (my daughter) isn’t terrified of lawnmowers…we have 5 acres we mow! Every! Week!

Heather
Heather
12 years ago

Oh man are you ever going to get a lot of comments on this post! So, I’ll throw mine in with the lot.

Our son missed the kindergarden cutoff by 2 weeks. We considered early entry into kindergarden but eventually decided against it. We talked to the child psychologist about the choice and he said that he recommends holding boys back for the maturity reason. He said that many parents of boys and girls are holding back kids born in July, Aug, & Sept (the cutoff here is Sept. 30). I didn’t want him to be the youngest and with everyone else holding off, he would likely have been among the youngest at his level. And while he could mentally handle the academics, his maturity level was, um, a bit behind? I remember meeting others at the first parent get-together and I said, “So who else is tired of the potty regression with starting school?!” Blink. Blink. Oh, so it’s just my kid, then. Ooookay.

He is in a Montessori public school at the preK level this year and doing so so well. He will have the same teacher next year for kindergarden. The multi-year classrooms allow the kids to work at their own academic level while still being among age/maturity level peers. It’s the right choice for us and I’m very very grateful we had public Montessori as an option.

I remember after the decision was made, we waited in line to get him admitted (8 hours!! In chilly November!!), my mom mentioned a book she was reading (maybe Outliers?) that talked about the effect of parents pushing kids early. Early entry into kindergarden does not seem to have an effect early on, but typically in fourth grade problems emerge with social stuff and being able to keep up with academics (because of the social stress?). This is all third hand, though. I just remember it because it confirmed the decision we made for our little guy.

With regard to the before/after care, I adjusted my work schedule to start at 6 AM so I could leave at 3:30 and be there when my guy’s school day ended. I get chastised by him daily because I don’t give him time to play with his buddies in the after care program. Sigh. I plan on switching back to my old schedule next fall so he will have time to run with the pack on the playground.

Trina
Trina
12 years ago

I know 2 other families that are dealing with this exact issue right now. They are both holding their boys back in Preschool another year and it is totally the best decision for them. Only you and JB know if Riley is ready for Kindergarten. My best friend when we were 5 (25 years ago) her birthday was in late July and her mom held her back a year and it was the absolute best thing for her. She is a very happy and well adjusted adult now. :)

ElizabethZ
ElizabethZ
12 years ago

As a girl who skipped 2nd grade and graduated HS at 16, I would have loved to have not been held back but because of my July birthday, I was almost 2 years younger. One year would have been no big deal. I would seriously consider sending him to real kindergarten unless you think it would be a complete disaster. His writing from what I have seen is really coming along (your mother’s day plaque brought me to tears), so reading has to be right around the corner. Those who say you are giving him the gift of time, think of it at the other end – you are giving him the gift of time LATER. He will graduate a year earlier and could spend 5 years in college instead of 4, take it slower, really figure out what he wants to do with his life, because ultimately – that is what we are all trying to do is raise quality adults. People we would be proud to know. The effect of kindergarten on that, is smallish IMO. Also, please consider the stigma of being the OLDEST in the class. There can be issues with that too. You might not be giving him enough credit, my boys are 4 1/2 and are in a very structured preschool class – they are crazy tornados as home but their teachers? Can’t say enough good things about them, their behavior, their achievements, their participation, etc. etc.

Two cents given.

Swiggy
12 years ago

I know you asked for the advice, but I’m afraid this going to across sounding wrong. So, take this as just my opinion and do with it what you will.

Unless you’re going to be putting him in kindergarten when you send him to public school – ie, holding him back for a year – I say send him to the public school now if you think the academics themselves won’t stump him. The reason I say this is because kindergarten is where kids learn how school works. I know he pretty much gets that in the center you send him to, but it’s different in a real school setting – not to mention that Riley will associate the center with daycare and not school and may be inclined to not be as serious as he should. Also, sending him to the public kindergarten will enable his kindergarten to make recommendations for the class he’ll be in fir 1st grade.

Kristin
Kristin
12 years ago

I think you’re doing the right thing with Riley’s education. It sounds like you have it made with his center having a kindergarten program, so he can still learn a little academically, but I agree that it could be painful in public school with sitting still, etc. if he is still kind of young. And it’s probably okay if his buddy is a year ahead. I know people that were ahead and behind me a year in school, even though we were only born months apart. We were still friends!

Swiggy
12 years ago

Sorry, that was supposed to be “kindergarten TEACHER to make recommendations…”

damn iPod typing!

Clueless But Hopeful Mama

I don’t know if there is a “wrong” decision here, just shades of … “workable”. Giving him more time to mature can only be a good thing, though he might be bored by repeating kindergarten level work. Sending him now would probably be fine, too.

As for assvice, here’s mine: I was one of the oldest in my class and I LOVED IT. I got my license before anyone else and this helped my popularity IMMENSELY (going from “abysmal” to “people will hang out with me because I can drive them to parties I wasn’t invited to”). So personally, I think it’s a great thing to be old for your grade.

Katie in Texas
Katie in Texas
12 years ago

My son’s birthday is Sept 16. He missed the cut off by 16 days. The year before he was not to go to Kindergarten, I looked frantically for a private school that would accept him young (about to be 5). I finally found one in the area but could not afford it, realistically. So, he stayed out an extra year and went to Kindergarten “on time”, much to my dismay. He was a “Genius” and “Mature” and would have been just fine if I had started him early.

Well, he is now 16. He is the oldest in his class and is perfectly happy where he is at. While he isn’t the smartest kid in class (as I had suspected at age 4), he is very bright and will be taking dual-credit classes his Junior year. Whether or not he would have done that if starting early is unknown. But, I am very, very glad he had that extra year under his belt. And he is equally glad to be the first to drive! (which is the most important thing at this point in his life).

From personal experience, I think you are doing the right thing! My 11 year old has a birthday July 30th. She is the youngest in her class and hates it. Although she will be taking Pre-AP classes in Jr. High next year, is very mature for her age and probably smarter than my son (relatively speaking for their grades), I don’t think an extra year would have hurt her either! And, it would have been easier as she reaches those HUGE milestones (starting to drive, date, etc)

Swiggy
12 years ago

I just read one of your comments. I didn’t realize you were planning on doing two years of kinder – that’s an excellent idea! Ignore what I said above.

CJ
CJ
12 years ago

FWIW, I was a young kindergartner and went away to college at 17. It turned out just fine. In fact, I think I was *more* mature than some of my older peers.

With boys I know it can be different. My brother certainly wasn’t at the same maturity level as I was at 17. Go with your gut.

whoorl
12 years ago

Wito will go to kindergarten at 5 (also an August birthday), but the age cutoff here is in December, so I hope he won’t be the very youngest in the class. With that being said, I was one of those preschool-straight-to-1st-grade kids so I was by far the youngest in my class for my entire school career. There are pros and cons, of course…

BUT! That’s not what I wanted to talk about. Wito is TERRIFIED of whistles. Like loses his shit terrified. Good to know he is attending a Play Ball summer camp outdoors that is totally whistle-intensive. That should be fun.

JCF
JCF
12 years ago

Ugh, I so don’t look forward to making this decision. My son has an October birthday, and until last year, we lived in a state with a September cutoff. I figured that was just as well and that we wouldn’t have to make the decision. However, our new state (where we plan on staying–we hope) has a December cutoff. We still have another year or two before he would start, but I am already terribly conflicted about the whole thing. My sister is a kindergarten teacher, and she tends to be on the side of keeping kids (especially boys) back, given her experience. When we get a little closer, I’ll probably rely heavily on whatever advice she chooses to give.

Anne
12 years ago

I was a cutoff-age kid, and my parents decided on a similar plan for me. Knowledge-wise I was way ahead of my peers, but emotional maturity-wise I was behind (PAINFULLY SHY), so it made sense. In some ways I wish I had been put in school sooner, and most of my friends were always a grade or more above me once I emotionally caught up to the world, but really I came out fine. I’m sure I would have either way.

As for the after-school programs, those things are FUN. A good friend of mine is a third grade teacher who works at one, and some of her kids who “have to” go home right after school are JEALOUS of the kids who get to stay and play with all their friends extra. Depending on your particular area, a HUGE percentage of kids seem to use the after school programs.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
12 years ago

Here is my 2 cents on the school thing. I was in the same boat as you, it was like WHAM, oh ya, my kid needs to start school like now. I had no real clue what we were doing. This was for Preschool though, he was never in daycare so I needed to figure something out fast. This was when he was 3 I think (his b-day is in April). So we sent him to a private preschool that also went up to 6th grade. I was planning on keeping him there, the school was awesome, in between 2 farms out in the middle of nowhere (which is where we live). At the time I didn’t want Eric to go the public school, I saw how the kids in our town ended up and I was scared. Then I thought about him going from 6th grade in the private school and having to go into public school anyways, which would be a lot harder on him. Well the preschool ended up discontinuing the higher grades and only did preschool and Pre-K. So we put him in the public school for Kindergarten.

As far as his friends go that he had at the private school, half of them he doesn’t even talk to anymore because they have been in different classes. Each year he makes new “best friends”. He’s in 2nd grade now.

I would hold Riley back, just my opinion. We wanted to move Eric up a grade because the school work he was getting in 1st grade was way too easy for him. His teacher mentioned the whole maturity level thing too, which made sense, he’s very smart but he has problems paying attention etc. etc.

And that’s my 2 cents :)

Sara
12 years ago

My sister went through the same decision process with her younger son. They decided to put him in kindergarten and he is the very youngest kid. And he did struggle a bit, but thankfully had an awesome teacher who reined him in. They are really happy with the decision, but only you know if it’s right for Riley.

Mary @ Tips & Treasures

I think you are doing the right thing by keeping Riley where he is. Like you said, he’ll still be getting the Kindergarten material. If he were to move on too early and be too young, he might become disruptive in class with not being able to hold his attention, stay seated, etc. Also, I’ve always heard that, especially for boys, when they are close to the cut off date, it’s best to wait till the next year.

Also, as soon as I started reading about Dylan’s fear of lawnmowers, I immediately recalled Riley’s weird fear of airplanes. That was too funny. Not for you guys, I’m sure. But as a reader, it was hilarious. Sorry, I have to ideas for that one! But atleast, you know by experience, that it will not last forever!

Peggasus
12 years ago

My older son’s birthday is August 15th. The preschool teachers all said, ‘He’s ready! Totally ready for kindergarten!’ (He was going to go to a Catholic school with the best kindergarten teacher of all time.)

In retrospect, I wish I would have waited. Socially, he was ready, but nobody picked up on what turned out to be major ADD issues until years later. Then again, there were (several) asshole neighbors of ours who were holding their sons back so they would better be able to compete in sports against younger children. Okaaaaay.

My younger son (who graduates from HS next week!) had a friend who was held back to repeat 8th grade. He has great friends, so no one ever made fun of him for it, but that is a much greater stigma than not starting kindergarten ‘on time.’

Hell, when I was a kid, many children did not even go to kindergarten. Times change. I missed the cutoff by three weeks (it was Dec. 31 way back then), and then was encouraged to skip 3rd grade (I didn’t, because we moved). Eh, each kid is different, I guess I am trying to say. Go with your gut feeling.

el-e-e
12 years ago

My son’s July birthday prompted the same question for us last year. We entered him into Kindergarten, and he’s done fine. Well, it’s hard to tell since they grade with “D = Developing” and “S = Secure.” Heh. But I think he’s matured enough to keep up.

He does sometimes complain about being the youngest. Especially when his friends in class are 6 and even 7, and losing teeth already (so exciting!) and he isn’t.

On the after-care issue, I had the same picture of “all alone and bereft.” Your comment made me smile. He’s fine with it, but I defintely want to re-work my schedule to be able to pick him up in carpool next year.

Trina
Trina
12 years ago

I think you are making the right decision for Riley. My son missed our cutoff by 17 days, so the decision was made for us to wait another year. I am thrilled, as he is reading but not ready for public kindergarten maturity wise. He will stay in our daycare for private kindergarten, then go to public kindergarten the year after. My youngest son has an August birthday (September 31 cutoff), and while he is 2, we are giving serious consideration to holding him back a year as well. I suppose time will tell, however it is clear you have thought this through. and I doubt you will regret your decision!

jen
jen
12 years ago

I have no advice on the school thing since mine is a several months younger than Dylan but on the potty training thing? Just don’t. C showed interest in it several months ago with climbing on top of the potty and saying “I potty” so we thought, hey let’s roll with this right? NOT a good idea. He went into a full resistance where we backed off entirely but then he started refusing being changed. So I started giving him the choice…change or potty and he picked potty but we were still going through massive amounts of pull ups and yeah, that was not the idea. A week ago, we went full on underwear and I have been cleaning up after him 97% of the time. It’s awful and I’d recommend just waiting. Like forever if you need to.

Dawn
Dawn
12 years ago

I know you have a gazillion comments, but we had the same dilemma. And it worked out just fine.
My older son has an October birthday, and while he is wicked smart, his social skills were a little lacking. We kept him in kindergarten even though he was “smart enough for 1st grade.” He’s finishing second grade now, and he fits in just fine even though he’s a bit older than most of the kids in his class.
I agree with everyone who said waiting isn’t bad. The gift of time, for sure. That extra year can only be a good thing. Our kindergarten teacher told us it’s better to give them the extra year to be sure they’re ready, than to have to deal with the fallout if they’re not.

Also, my younger son goes to kindergarten through our daycare, and while he will be going to 1st grade next year, at least half of the kids in his class will go to kindergarten at a public school next year – and that was their parents’ plan from the beginning. So you’re not the only one!

I do have to disagree with Aileen – while it’s true that some daycares do only offer kindergarten that’s really just another year of daycare, ours is accredited and recognized by the state and the teacher is required to meet all the same standards as public kindergarten classes. I don’t know which kind your daycare offers. But even if it’s not a recognized kindergarten, if they mimic the routines and structure of a classroom setting it can still be valuable in teaching them what to expect the next year as far as manners and sitting still and transitions between activities.

And – like Heather said about aftercare – my kids regularly say “Mom, I’m playing with so-and-so; can you come back later?” when I come early to pick them up. They LOVE that unstructured playtime after school. And my older son’s is run by the Y so they have tons of physical activities and stuff to help them blow off steam after having to behave all day.

Hope that helps.

McKenna
McKenna
12 years ago

My oldest boy missed the cutoff by weeks,so he will always be the oldest, a status which he loves. But even if he’d barely made it, we would probably have waited a year before entering the big K for all the reasons you gave above. You know your kid better than anyone, and I think it’s much easier/more naturalfor them to do it this way, than to hold them back when they get older bc they aren’t ready for 1st grade.

As for potty training, the best perspective I’ve seen is “you can’t make them eat, sleep or poop.” Even tho this drives us all insane to extend diaper duties more than absolutely necessary: have patience, don’t consider it a parental failure if it takes a kid longer, and rest assured they’ll get it together before they go to college. Just teach, encourage, and pave the way for them. If you don’t make it your issue (as opposed to the kids’ issue) the studies show they get it together faster because it doesn’t become a point of contention (for which obstinate 2 year olds will tend to dig in for a fight).

Christen
12 years ago

My niece (who turns 13 this year OMG cue Sunrise, Sunset) was like Riley: on the cusp of the kindergarten cut-off and super-smart but still so tiny and sort of…well, NOT ready for kindergarten, even though she could read more and count higher and do just about anything better than the other kids (kidding – I am a proud auntie and totally biased). It was hard because her teachers were sort of pushing her parents to have her give it a whirl, reasoning that they could just hold her back later, which also did not seem ideal. Her parents decided not to push it, kept her in a pre-K program for a year and she has always done well in school and had a lot of friends and success. That’s not to say she would have flailed had they pushed it, but there’s just so much more to consider than academics.

Dawn
Dawn
12 years ago

And PS: I vote that you NOT stress on the potty training. My boys had no interest whatsoever until well after they turned 3. While it was an extra year of diapers, it was worth it for my sanity. Once they’re ready, they JUST DO IT. I’m talking a couple of days and they were pros. If he’s not ready, you’re just stressing out both of you unnecessarily for months. IMO anyway.

Claudia
12 years ago

I haven’t read the other comments so my apologies if I repeat something ad nauseum that others have said. My kids are 9 and 5 (almost 6). My five year old is finishing up kindergarten. She has a June birthday but it wouldn’t have killed her to stay back a year. But, a lot of her classmates have birthday’s right around hers so they’re basically about at the same place. She was pretty much ready to go and I couldn’t afford another year of sub-par childcare and the school is an excellent one. So, kind of a no-brainer. We do the after-school program (run badly by the Y) because we both work and that’s the breaks. The bus picks them up in the morning and dad picks them up from school in the afternoon.

My nine-year-old was born at the end of November. She missed the cut-off date and had to wait a year. This was too bad because she’s now in the gifted and talented program, was reading pretty fluently at four, is mature for her age, etc. But, she’s done fine and is in a girl scout troop with 4th graders who are actually her age since she was held back.

In the end, I don’t think it makes much difference. It’s up to you and your child. If you don’t think Riley would benefit from kindergarten yet, don’t send him. If you do, go ahead and do it. Maturity comes at different times for different kids.

My kindergartener is doing well but still struggling with reading. Like everything with kids – it’ll happen when it happens.

Joanne
12 years ago

Riley is really close to that cut off! I wouldn’t worry a bit. I think it’s especially important for boys to be about the same size as the other kids in class, so I think it’s a good move. I used to work in a private school and some kids were kept back when they were more than old enough, but that doesn’t sound like the situation here. I think it’s smart.

All my kids are terrified of dogs – they’ve never had a bad experience or anything with them, but they just all reach an age where they’re so, so scared of them. I think it’s more than normal to have a thing like that, I’d try and respect it. With my kids, it’s not so much the *dogs* that they’re afraid of as much as the way the dogs make them feel.

My daughter is a teensy bit younger than Dylan and I haven’t started to potty train her yet. She is showing no signs of being ready, so I am going to start training her in earnest in July, when she is 2.5. I have no advice, just commiseration.

Elleana
Elleana
12 years ago

About Kindergarten…my son’s birthday is Sept. 22, and we decided to delay kindergarten. Best. Decision. Ever. And as a preschool teacher myself, I strongly feel that most children with fall birthdays benefit from the extra time to mature — especially boys. Keep him at preschool. You won’t regret it.

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