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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saly
12 years ago

Our son missed the public school cut off by less than 30 days. We could have put him in to private school for a little bit less than what we paid for pre-school. We chose to keep him back, and I (mostly) think it was a good decision. It’s irrational, but it bugs me that he’s the oldest in his class. BUT he is so on it now, academically, socially, you name it. He would have made it if we’d sent him, but I think that extra year of emotional development went a long way.

As far as potty training, as a rule, I just don’t do it. They’ll go when they go. My son was close to 3, my daughter trained herself right before she turned 2, and the baby, who is nearly 2, has some interest, but only when it benefits her. I’m not sweating it. You shouldn’t either. :D

Claudia
12 years ago

And as far as potty training goes, isn’t it funny how two kids with the SAME PARENTS can be so different? Man! I thought my youngest would never agree to use the potty. Stubborn doesn’t even scratch the surface!

My pediatrician once told me that she’s never met a kindergartner in diapers. They’ll do it when they’re ready. As far as I can tell, she’s right.

Brenna
12 years ago

I think just about every primary school teacher would agree with your decision to keep him where he is.

My brother has an August birthday, and while he always did fine academically, he was always puny and less mature compared to the other kids (at least until middle school), and my mom still thinks she should have started him a year later.

Yes, there is the possibility (likelihood, even) that Riley would do just fine if you started him on schedule. But on the off chance that he didn’t, setbacks early on in school can be devastating to kids’ confidence.

Julie
12 years ago

I was in your shoes a year ago. My son’s birthday is August 25, and I worried about the school cut off question from the moment I heard his due date (and tried insanely to convince the little zygote to stay put until September 1 so there wouldn’t be an issue). I talked with so, so many people about what to do, and the only people who said put him in kindergarten with the school district administrators whose job it was to say that exact thing.

So we sucked it up, paid from the pre-K / preschool / young 5s class, and hoped for the best. Which is what we got, for him.

Last week, we went to an orientation of sorts at the school Sammy will likely attend in the fall. In one of the classrooms, I saw a birthday poster for a little boy I noticed was born on August 22, 3 days before my son. Obviously his parents made a different choice. For a moment, I thought about ours, and realized we’d done right by our kid. And that’s what it’s all about anyway.

Doesn’t mean I’m not absolutely terrified about next year. What can I say? My lunacy knows no bounds.

CarrieP
CarrieP
12 years ago

I now frighten and perplex every dating or newly married person I know by insisting that they start planning now to avoid having kids in the summer. My oldest is 15 days before the cutoff date. We held him, which was a terribly hard decision (for me, if not my husband) but unequivically the right one for us.

I can emphasize with Deb. I’m also a 10/28 bday and was always the youngest at everything. Eventually it became a point of pride: graduated college at 20 (like a moron), managing folks by 23, etc, etc. I also would have told you there was no negative social impact, which looking back, is a big fat lie. So, at first, holding him back felt like a failure. For reals, I cried at his parent teacher conference last year. But once I separated my personal issues from the real issue, it was an easy decision.

We attended his (second) pre-K graduation last night. It was nice to sit there listening to all those kids singing “I Am a Promise” without feeling any doubt. It wasn’t all smooth sailing; he starting feeling pretty bored about three quarters of the way through the school year. Seems like the kindergarten program your preschool offers will help with that. But he has so much more confidence now, even though as one of the oldest, he is still the shortest in class. By a lot. Genetics, what can you do?

Oh, and potty training. My almost three year-old has apparently not heard that girls train early. She’s still in a crib and is desperate for a big-girl bed, so we’re seriously considering setting up the new bed next to her crib. Dry day? Bed. No potty? Crib. Is that too diabolical?

Krystal
Krystal
12 years ago

I went into school a year early, so i was always the youngest kid, and did just fine (well better then fine, but who am I to brag!) I went to university when i was 17, and loved it there, excelled and fit in perfectly. I loved that I had an extra year on everyone, so I could be done university early and get started on my Chartered Accountant designation. I am so grateful that I started early and that I finished early.
I guess though, my first few years were spent homeschooling, until my father passed away. Then I joined the public stream. So perhaps you could try homeschooling him, so that way he is academically challenged, but do not really need to worry about maturity, because he is at home not struggling with the other children, or a long day in a class room.

Dennis
12 years ago

My birthday is September 1st, and my parents were given that same choice given the cutoff date. They chose to make me the oldest kid in the class rather than the youngest, and oh boy am I glad they did. My academic performance and confidence levels turned out pretty well – and there’s no concrete proof to say they wouldn’t have had I been placed in kindergarten earlier, but you know….

Just to pile it on =)

Judy
Judy
12 years ago

Everyone else seems to be agreeing on hold back, but I figure one more voice chiming in wouldn’t hurt. Absolutely hold back.

My son was born August 17 (on his sister’s 8th birthday, as it happens). So in the year before kindergarten was to begin, the school had readiness testing and he excelled at all the tests except shoe tying, which didn’t matter because cowboy boots were the thing and so were velcro straps on sneakers. Big sister started at five and did just fine, so we started him at five, and I have regretted it ever since. He’s a grown man, inching toward middle age in fact, but if I had known then what I know now, I definitely would have kept him home another year.

MRW
MRW
12 years ago

My son was born in February so I don’t have advice about the cutoff issue, but I can offer my observations about daycare K and then public school K. My son went to the same daycare from 6 months to 5.5 years. He was intellectually advanced enough that he started the daycare K at 4.5. So he had a year of daycare K and then went to public school K the next year and it worked out really well. Some of the stuff was a repeat, but that meant he gained confidence academically right off the bat and he could focus on the social aspect of public school K with a class of 24 kids and going from 8-2, etc. I will do this again in a heartbeat if my daughter is in the same situation when she’s 4.

Kristy
12 years ago

My now 17 year old son was born on Nov 22nd. He was not allowed to start school until he was just a few months from turning 6. He was the oldest in his class. I want to caution you from my own tale. My son is now 17 and is a few months from 18 and is the OLDEST in his class…ie: everyone else his age has jobs etc etc and have either dropped out of highschool or want to becasue it’s easier to get a job than to go to school when you are that old. He will be close to 19 and his classmates will be closer to 17 if he manages to finish highschool next year.

Just my cautionary tale. For me the decision was not mine..it was a public school law. Think about this decision not just for the now..but for the future…12 years feels far off..but it will arrive fast.

kristin
kristin
12 years ago

I know of 5 children whose parents kept them back in preschool. The 3 moms responsible for those decisions are all now 100% sure they did the right thing. These kids vary in age from 5 to 25. I think it makes a world of difference in their confidence.

Maria
12 years ago

We are going through a similar issue with my daughter Sofia. She was a September baby and misses the cutoff for kindergarten by one week. The learning center we use also has an accredited kindergarten; however, they will not take her into that class until she meets the same age as the public school requirement. What they have done for children in this scenario is extend the time spent in the three and four year old classrooms. Sofia spent about a year and a half in the three year old classroom, not moving to the four year old classroom until she was actually four and a half. She is to spend another year and a half in the four year old classroom, where she will actually be five years old for most her time there. When she is old enough to go to kindergarten we will have the opportunity to choose between the learning center all day program where she could stay until we pick her up, or go to the public school with a before and after school program. We have yet to price out which would be cheaper. The only thing I worry about is a repeat of the curriculum. I did start to notice that towards the end of her time spent in the three year old classroom Sofia was doing the same projects she had completed the previous year. In the long run, however, I don’t think it has any impact. I do not have a choice in the matter, but I am glad Sofia has another year to mature emotionally before she starts grade school. I think the extra year will make life at school that much easier for her. You and JB know what’s best for Riley. If your collective gut tells you that he would benefit from another year, I believe it is a good thing.

MichelleH
MichelleH
12 years ago

Do what you feel is right as far as Kindergarten goes. One year will not make a difference in a negative way. If you feel he needs to be eased in, I think he will get more out of public school kindergarten if he is prepared emotionally, the way you want him to be. I started Kindergarten at 4 and and turned 5 about a month later. I was already academically way ahead of the other kids but was EXTREMELY shy and fearful. When I was in first grade my parents considered holding me back but ultimately opted to go with their original plan and all turned out fine. I became a very outgoing and opinionated kid! ;) I guess my point is, I personally feel that Riley will be fine as long as YOU are comfortable with the plan. Sounds like you know what’s best for him. His friends will still be there (some of the neighborhood kids wound up a grade ahead or behind-we still stayed friends) and he will of course, make new ones that will be in his grade with him.

As for Dylan, I am sort of glad to hear my kid is not the only one with strange fears. My 20-month-old is terrified of my hairdryer. And my grandmother’s house. And the little song that his Fisher Price gumball machine plays. My husband kind of worries about it, but because I really was a weird, fearful little kid myself, I try to be low-key about it. I don’t really feel traumatized by any of the stuff I found so terrifying as a kid and I did grow out of it. So, I am just trying to go with the flow of that and let him deal with his fears on his own terms as much as I can without being a total enabler. The lawnmower thing is really inconvenient though! I guess you will have to lock yourself in your house for awhile and I will have to embrace my frizzy, non blown out hair. :)

Julia
Julia
12 years ago

I don’t believe anyone has ever regretted holding back a young for his class boy. I still regret that I sent my academically ready but teeny tiny socially immature 5 year old (May b’day) and he is going to be 24 this month. It all worked out, but the older kids are so much more ready for the challenges. and the differences don’t show up in Kindergarten, they show up in middle school and high school, when it’s too late. you are absolutely doing the right thing.

Cyndy
Cyndy
12 years ago

On the holding back vs. sending on, a LOT of parents are holding them back. A. Lot. The year that Sassa went to Kindergarten, the age range in his class was over 17 months.

For each of my kids (especially the ones near the cutoff), I had them in a pre-K at 4 to assess kindergarten readiness. It gave them an extra boost as well as gave me an idea of how well they’d do. Pete is TINY (she’s just outgrowing her 2Ts) but I’ll be sending her in the fall, because I think she’d be bored to tears in preschool for another year. But she’s spent the last 4.5 years with three older siblings and her besties in her pre-K class are the tallest, older kids who were held themselves.

I had a teacher friend tell me if in doubt, hold them back. The reason is that if they start out behind, they lag more each year. Also, boys will be a year bigger for sports instead of being on the small side.

#3 is the smallest boy in his grade, but he’s on target in both academics and social stuff, so I know I made the right choice in sending him 2 years ago. I’ll have to see how Pete will be next year.

Telugumom
12 years ago

Hi,

Just came across your blog. Nice one! I cannot give you any advice on kindergarten as my son is still 2.5 yrs old. But, we did go through the lawn mover phase last summer. He used to just run away from the sound all the time. Oh he was also very scared of the trash truck. We just explained what the lawn mover or the trash truck do and we let him watch it from a distance. Now, he insists on watching the lawn movers and trash truck from the window :)

I am sure it is just a phase and your son will get over it too. Good Luck!

kakaty
kakaty
12 years ago

My daughter will be in the same boat when she starts K. Her birthday is just 5 days before the cut off and I *think* we will wait an additional year (she’s 3 1/2 now) to start at the public school. I come from a long line of teachers and they all say that 90% of the time the kid will do better by starting later – not always academically, but emotionally and maturity-wise. The daycare/preschool she’s in now has a Kindergarden program in years where there is demand so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the 4 kids in her class now with similar birthdays stay there so they will have the class when she is ready.

I was the youngest in my class growing up and as a kid it wasn’t so bad, but starting at about age 12 it SUCKED. And when I went to college I couldn’t do ANYTHING on my own since I wasn’t 18 yet – my parents had to sign for everything. (Plus I couldn’t get into any clubs for the first 6 weeks because I was 17 and they carded for 18+ at the doors – harsh for a college freshman!!)

Lauren
Lauren
12 years ago

My birthday was the day after the cutoff, so I was ALWAYS the oldest in my class.

No big. I turned out, uh, fine.

I think it will be fine.

Katherine
Katherine
12 years ago

Lots of great comments. If your kids are as athletic as you and your husband, and there is any interest in team sports, not being the youngest kid in the class or on the team will be very important. Even at this age, there is a real difference in kids athletic ability and ability to be a part of a team.

Also, there is lots of discussion in the blogosphere about the fall out from having kids repeat a grade because they started too soon. If in doubt, I’d say hold him back.

Kari
Kari
12 years ago

Hey,
My daughter’s birthday is 9/14 and I fretted endlessly when she was born about how she JUST MISSED the cutoff. When it came down to it, she was probably ready to start kindergarten last fall, but me, not so much. So grateful for that extra year (since it’s all about me). Everyone I’ve talked to has said it’s way better to be the oldest, rather than youngest, in your class.

marta
marta
12 years ago

If you read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, he makes a pretty strong case for keeping kids back as long as possible, so they’re the oldest and not youngest in their class.
(Sorry if someone already mentioned this, I haven’t read the comments yet.)
Pretty interesting book, even if you’re not looking to make your kid Wayne Gretzky or Bill Gates.

Carolyn
Carolyn
12 years ago

We had the exact same issue this year with our son. His birthday is July 24th and the cut off here in IN is Aug 1st. Daycare said he was ready and would be fine. We just weren’t convinced. He might do well next year but what about in 5th grade? What about being the last to drive? To drink? To turn 18? What about being smaller than all the other kids? All those things were major factors. So after a very long time discussing the pros and cons, we decided to hold him back until next year.
I am 99% sure we made the right decision. Man this parenting gig is HARD!

Shawna
Shawna
12 years ago

There is a ton of discussion going on over at Here be Hippogriffs (comments section, latest post – I’d post a link but since it’s not my blog I don’t know what the etiquette of that would be) regarding holding kids back. The huge consensus seems to be that if it’s going to be done it should be done at the very beginning because your child will spontaneously combust from shame if you do it later. Or something.

I joke but the discussion really is informative.

Sonja
12 years ago

I was among the very youngest in my class – I was still four for three days when I started kindergarten (my birthday is September 4th). I had also taught myself how to read at 2 1/2, so the fact that I wasn’t emotionally really “ready” to deal with school (I had issues with “playing well with others”) took a backseat to my being totally, totally bored with preschool.

My being one of the very youngest never, ever bothered me. It never came into play in any way until high school and everyone else was able to get their permits and kids in the class *below* me were driving before I was. That’s the ONLY time when my being born just at the cut-off was an issue in any way at all.

L
L
12 years ago

We went through the send or not send issue with our boys. Our situation was while they seemed ready academically, their birthday is the end of June but they were premature and not due until after the kindergarten deadline. They were accepted into a magnet school and so we decided to send them, but only because this school does things differently, which will make the age difference not so much of a big deal. Not knowing you at all, just your son’s age and what you have said, I would say you are doing the right thing because 1. he will be in a setting that offers him both what he needs academically and socially and 2. Kindergarten red-shirting in our area is completely out of control. Half of the pre-k class my boys attend is ALREADY SIX. It is totally crazy.

Audrey
12 years ago

Meh…keep him home. (Delurking for the good stuff.) We kept our summer baby home. He went as a newly turned 6 year old and the oldest in his class. He’s done great with zero problems.

I just keep telling myself that I gave him the gift of an extra year as a child vs. an extra year as an adult. We all know that being an adult sucks.

agirlandaboy
12 years ago

My brother was held out of kindergarten for an extra year based on the too-emotionally-immature factor, and I actually think it ended up backfiring in his case. My brother is…kind of a genius in some ways, and the fact that he entered kindergarten the next year as not only the oldest kid but the smartest (by leaps and bounds) turned out to make his social life much more difficult. For one, he was expected to be a leader when he’s not really the leader type, and I think he’s still (at age 29) feeling bad about his childhood because of that.

That said, Riley is not my brother, so this really is one of those things you just have to collect information on and then take a leap of faith based on what you think is best in your situation.

Good luck!

Christina
12 years ago

I say keeping him back is the best thing. Same thing I am sure everyone else is saying but boys tend to struggle more academically if they go to school to soon and maturity is the issue. That August birthday cut off thing is hard.

As a parent, you have to make the best decision for your kids and you know them best! I graduated from HS at 17 and wished like heck now that my parents held me back at this age. I was WAY to young and immature through the whole process.

Riley will do just fine! Being the oldest and youngest are both going to have advantages and disadvantages and again you know him and what is best for him.

As for before/after school care, I am pretty sure this is the most heavily used program in every school in our little school district. I do not think it is what it once might have been as most families are two income homes these days. I am like you I have reservations about it but we will be using it likely. One of my co-workers kids have done it their entire school career and they are great kids, no worse for the wear if you will!

Cara
Cara
12 years ago

My birthday was after the cut off, but when you could ‘test in’ to Kindergarten early. My parents did that with me, and I did fine. My sister’s birthday was right at the cut off, and my parents decided her social maturity was such that she’d benefit from waiting the extra year. She did fine. I graduated high school at 17, college at 21. For her it was 18 and 22. We both went on for advanced degrees. At 33 and 27, neither of us feels like it matters that we were the youngest/oldest in our classes. If anything, our personalities being what they are, we think our parents made the right decision, if we bother to think about it. You know your kid. Trust yourself.

wendy wisniewski
12 years ago

We have two boys, both with September 1st birthdays. We did not hesitate to hold them back! They are now 11 and 13 and we don’t regret the decision at all. Yes, both are oldest in their respectively classes – but being boys they are now more socially in tune with their female classmate’s maturity levels. Now that one is in middle school, the decision to wait is even clearer. You can definitely tell those that are on the younger side of the spectrum, especially when it comes to things like school dances and other similar functions.

Kim H.
Kim H.
12 years ago

My son started kindergarten this past fall, and he turned 6 in November. Keeping him back was the best decision for us. He is doing fabulous in kindergarten and fits right in. I’m not sure things would have gone as smoothly if we had sent him last year. Good luck making your decision!

Heather
12 years ago

My daughter is an early October birthday so the decision to wait was made for us. Our son was born smack dab in the middle of the GRAY AREA knows as July and from what everyone else has ever told me…we should wait with him. We have a few years on that yet, but I couldn’t help but notice, with my daughter, almost all of the kids in her Kindergarten last year were 6 or turned 6 before January. Same in first grade. I think it will be totally fine.

Robin
Robin
12 years ago

You’re doing the right thing by waiting on kindergarten.

My son is in third grade now and is super young (late August) for his grade. I hemmed and hawed and finally sent him and wish to this day I hadn’t. Sure, things have mostly gone okay and he has matured a lot in the past year especially and he has great friends and he’s academically gifted (not that Oregon does squat for TAG kids, but I digress) BUT his maturity just doesn’t match that of the other kids. Add to it a class full of kids whose parents held them back up through MAY birthdays and you have my son who will probably be entering puberty two full school years behind his classmates.

Give your son the extra year and know that he’ll have a great year now and be extra prepared for kindergarten. I wish you a lot of luck sorting out flexible work schedules by then, too.

Saranlap
Saranlap
12 years ago

Keep him where he is for one more year. While the academic side may be fine to start public school, you’re right to be concerned about his maturity level…and the disparity only gets worse, not better, as he moves to higher grades. I have 2 family members who were both put in Kindergarten as the youngest members (instead of waiting the extra year) and both of them wished they’d waited.

Kirsty
12 years ago

Here in France, the cut-off is 31 December and my elder daughter turned 8 on 27 December and is in 3rd grade. She’s always been the youngest in her class (more or less, these last two years there’s also been a girl who’s jumped a year and who didn’t turn 8 till March) but you have to imagine that there are other kids with “late” birthdays too, so being “the youngest” doesn’t always mean by much: my daughter has 3 “best friends”: one who’s 9 this week, one who’ll be 9 on 30 October and the other on 14 December… Hardly a huge difference with the last two… And since schools went back in September, loads of kids had birthdays…
Our daughter started school just after her 2nd birthday, when the age difference was more obvious, but she loved it from day 1 and has never had problems fitting in. It really isn’t so much a question of birthday, in my opinion, as in your knowledge of your child – you’re the one who knows best. For Carla, she was just aching for stimulation, company, social interaction (we have no family near us and, when she was small, knew no one with kids).
Do what you think is best for your child – you might make a mistake, but things will work themselves out in the end even if you do. You’re still the best placed to know what he’s ready for or not (Carla always liked sitting quietly, “reading”, or drawing, or colouring… All-day school was easy-peasy; one of her friends, Enzo, is just 9 days younger (so a January birthday) and he was held back because he sooo wasn’t ready for the all-day stuff. He’s in 2nd grade and is doing really well too).
Don’t feel pressurised into doing something you don’t feel is right!
Good luck!

jamie
jamie
12 years ago

Alex misses the cutoff by 2 weeks, and I’m glad that the decision is basically made for us because academically, he’s ready, no question, but emotionally? not so much. We could have him tested to get him in early, but we’re not going to. I think another year of growing and maturing will be good for him. It’s not a matter of a right and wrong choice, it’s very personal depending on the child. I always thought Alex would be ready, and always planned to push him in early (like I was), but now that we’re here, I am very confident in our decision to hold off another year.

Quiana
12 years ago

I agree that holding him back is probably a good idea.

Additionally, my cousin is still besties with a private pre-school friend at 15 in spite of them having not attended the same school since pre-school. I think the parents really control how that works. If you like the kid and his parents, you can absolutely keep the boys in touch.

kalisa
12 years ago

My son’s b-day is Aug. 30 and we did NOT hold him back. If I had it to do all over again, I definitely would though.

He is the absolute youngest in his class and he hates that. He was the last one to get his drivers license. (That was a tough one on him.) Plus – now that he’s about to be a senior in high school – I would much rather send him off to college being 18-almost-19 than 17-almost-18.

So you get two thumbs up – way up – from me on the waiting a year. He will LOVE being the oldest in his class when he gets to high school. Wait til you see how many friends come out of the woodwork when he’s the first one driving to school.

nonsoccermom
12 years ago

I haven’t read most of the comments so am sure this has been offered several times already, but my son was right at the age cutoff for kindergarten too. My mom (a public school teacher for 30 years) said HOLD OFF. With little boys it is much better for them to be the OLDEST in the class, rather than the youngest. And I totally agree. My boy is smart as a whip, but emotionally immature a lot of the time. He’s finishing up first grade now and I don’t regret our choice at all.

Oh, and as a side note – he does after-school care and LOVES it. Seriously. He gets pissed if we pick him up too early because they’re always doing cool stuff.

Belle
Belle
12 years ago

My b/d is the end of November. I went to k’garten at age 4, went off to college at 17. I was a very shy young lady but excelled academically. People always thought I was “mature” for my age, but I say it was just because I didn’t talk much. Ha. Guess I was just in my own little world but being the youngest in my class never ever bothered me. Acutally kinda cool, too, because guess who was the last in my class to turn 60? Ha.

I also say just go with your gut on this one. Our oldest son would NOT have been ready any sooner than when he went, and his b’day is in January so he was a rock-solid 5. Emotionally he just would not have been ready and we knew it. He was a rough-and-tumble kind of kid, super smart, but much taller and stronger than every other kid his age. He could have easily become a bit of a bully had he not been older and more understanding of that by the time he went.

Now, the noise issue? Our son would scream and cover his ears at train whistles, firecrackers, ANY loud noise. He had a couple of melt-downs at age 5-6 on a day-care summer trip and they were not pretty, I guess. He eventually outgrew it but he still hates loud noises and he’s 34. We never figured it out, either, other than to be understanding and keep him out of those situations when possible. Not sure what to tell you, but I do understand the frustration at not knowing what to do to help your Dylan.

lumpyheadsmom
12 years ago

My colleague red-shirted her kid by sending him to a private kindergarten (which it sounds like you’re doing). She sent him to public school – as planned – the next year, but had the option of enrolling him as a stigma-free kindergartner or a first grader. Effing brilliant, if you ask me.

Nicole
Nicole
12 years ago

My son missed the school cutoff date by 2 months. It was hard to see all of his pre-school friends go off to public kindergarten, while he remained at his daycare center. He was (and is) very bright, so I felt confident that he would have no trouble keeping up academically if he had gone to school that year. However, we had no choice in the matter- he was born after the cutoff date. So he attended his daycare’s kindergarten program, and went to public school kindergarten the following year. It has worked out really well. He excels in school, and because he is a little older than his classmates, he is very mature, and has emerged as a leader in his classroom. He is in 3rd grade now, and his teachers have consistently told me that he sets a great example for his peers, and is well liked by them. He is very comfortable in his own skin- a result, I believe, of being put in a situation where he was enabled to succeed. There are 2 disadvantages that I see -sometimes his peers are noticeably less mature than he is- but he doesn’t seem too bothered by it. I think I am more aware of it than he is. Also, he is very competitive (too much- it’s not a good thing), and sometimes I think an occasional dose of humility would be a good thing for him! Good luck with your decision!

Pucky
Pucky
12 years ago

Honestly? I would put him in kindergarten. At 3 and 4, I was in the same boat–intelligent but somewhat immature–and the teachers fought the move into kindergarten, but I went anyway and I ended up being one of the best students in the school, and the teachers thought I was great.

Then again, I’m a girl. Biiiiiig difference. But my gut feeling says he will quickly outgrow the emotional thing when surrounded by older kids as an example.

Anneli
Anneli
12 years ago

I taught K for years — and I can say, pretty much w/o reservation, that the parents who were in your position, (chose to keep their child either in pre-K, or at home, or at a private K) were very happy with their decision(s) and never looked back. While each child is different, they do mature at such a high rate of speed between 5 and 6, and it is glaringly obvious when someone isn’t *quite* ready. Bottom line, doing what’s best for your child is the most important thing and I salute you for doing what is best for Riley. This has probably already been said above, but a toy lawnmower worked wonders for my own fraidy-boy.

Julie
Julie
12 years ago

I was born in October, and our school had no cutoffs in the 1970s! I started kindergarten at 4, graduated and started college at 17, and was a senior in College before I could drink legally. I got my driver’s license after everyone else, and ahem, my period too which at the time was DEVASTATING (Riley doesn’t have to worry about that obviously!). I think it contributed somewhat into turning me into somewhat of a late bloomer in all aspects of my life.

Alas, there is a silver lining. The oldest in my class is about to turn 40 in June, and I’ve got another year and 4 months after that. I definitely rub it in at reunions.

Meggish
Meggish
12 years ago

I don’t have children at all, so naturally any opinion I have is unfounded. Here’s an interesting article by Elizabeth Weil from the New York Times, though: “When Should a Kid Start Kindergarten?” http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9902E2DC1430F930A35755C0A9619C8B63

Pam
Pam
12 years ago

You’ve probably heard it all before but I’ll just put in my 2 cents. I went through the same thing last year. My boy is just now finishing his 2nd year of pre-k. I still doubted my decision until a couple of days ago somebody finally said something to make me feel better.

My cousin-in-law was an educator and she said she never heard anybody regret their decision to hold back their child in kindergarten or preschool. She did, however, hear several people lament their decision to push ahead.

P.S. Thanks for making me laugh often. You really put parenthood in perspective!

Amy
Amy
12 years ago

We are in the EXACT same boat. My daughter turns 5 on Sept. 7th, but as we are in California the cutoff date for enrollment is Dec. 1, not Sept. 1. She is like Riley — very bright and thriving in her pre-K class. But still, I decided to wait to send her to public kindergarten this fall. I feel the same was as you, I’d like her to be emotionally more ready. And mostly? I just don’t want her to always feel like she’s having to keep up with everyone. If we wait, then she is the one setting the pace as one of the oldest, rather than being at the end of the class age-wise and maturity-wise.

But yes, I’ve had a very similar situation at a playdate where the mom I was talking to was sending her daughter with a late birthday to K this year and asked me my plans. I was an non-judgemental as I could possibly be, because honestly I totally think it’s a decision each parent has to make for their own individual child. Regardless though, she still acted weird through the whole conversation, like my decision to hold my daughter back meant that she was a bad mom for sending her daughter early. Oy vey! This parenting stuff is crazy. The kid stuff is a piece of cake compared to dealing with other parents!

Anyway, I think you’re making a great decision with Riley. We’re doing pre-k for one more year, too (yes, at a ridiculous cost, but so worth it). Good luck with everything!!

MelV
MelV
12 years ago

Oh man this comment thread is killing me. My son is summer b-day and it seems like a no-brainer to everyone else that “well of course he’ll go to kindergarten next year!” even his teachers say that. And in fact i just registered him yesterday. But my guts been screamin at me for months that it doesnt seem right. He is totally ready academically ready but oh man, maturity wise, i really dont know. He already has trouble sitting still for 10 seconds. and this thread is confirming everything ive been thinking. This maybe have been the kick in the pants i needed to stand up to everyone and do was I know is right for him. Hold him back. As always LInda, thank you!

mrsgryphon
mrsgryphon
12 years ago

I think that you know your kids the best, and that you should do whatever feels right to you. There are always doubts and wondering, but if you go with what feels the MOST right, you’re usually on a good track :)

Our girl was 4 at the end of January, and our school cut-off date is March 1st. So, she could essentially go to kindergarten in the fall as a 4 year old and not turn 5 until the end of January. That feels all kinds of “too young!!” to me (especially thinking ahead to teen years), so my husband has come around to my thinking and she’ll be going to preschool for another year. Most of her friends are going to kindergarten, though, so we’re kind of in the same situation as you guys… just planning to still have lots of playdates and sleepovers and keep in touch with them that way! They wouldn’t have been going to the same kindergarten program anyway, so it’s not much different.

Good luck with the lawnmowers – maybe there won’t be much rain this summer and the grass will stop growing?!