Mamas of boys, at what age did you place your ds in kindergarten? - Mothering Forums
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The Childhood Years > Mamas of boys, at what age did you place your ds in kindergarten?
kdescalzi's Avatar kdescalzi 09:42 PM 01-16-2011

Hi there,


My ds just turned 4 in Dec. Everyone keeps asking me if he is starting school next year and warning me that I better sign him up now. I have read literature stating that boys with late birthdays do tend to struggle in kindergarten and that that can lead to a negative association with school. I am a sahm and ds has always been with me. He goes to preschool twice a week for 2 hours and already that is a lot for him. Every week I have to pep talk him that he is safe and will have fun and that I will be right back to pick him up....needless to say full time kindergarten seems pretty daunting to me. I am ok with holding him back a year. WDYT?? Any moms out there with tips, advice, feedback??

Mom2Brendan's Avatar Mom2Brendan 11:54 PM 01-16-2011

Look at the School Age Guideline for being this old by this certain date because many schools say a Child has to be 5 before this certain date which usually they have to be 5 around a time in August/September .


So more likely your son would have to wait until he's almost 6 to attend kindergarten.


That's the way for my son's cousins who had birthdays in September and October.


MCatLvrMom2A&X's Avatar MCatLvrMom2A&X 12:07 AM 01-17-2011
Ds was 5 and turned 6 the next month. They must be at least 5 on or before September 30 in TN at 4yo they must go to pre K though they can go to pre K at 5yo as well since K isnt required until 6yo. Here is a link to required school ages. some states K isnt even required. Wish it wasnt here.


dogretro's Avatar dogretro 12:10 AM 01-17-2011

Yeah, it's going to depend on your district's cut off date.  Ours is September first, so your son would not be old enough for kindergarten next year.  He would start when he was already five and then turn six during that school year.  If your cut off date is Aug/Sept, then a December birthday is a good one, imo!

Drummer's Wife's Avatar Drummer's Wife 12:22 AM 01-17-2011
You probably won't have a choice, as it's been said, most districts have cut-off dates long before December.

My DS's have birthdays in Feb./March, so they were 5.5 when starting Kindergarten, and it worked out well.
eepster's Avatar eepster 01:36 AM 01-17-2011

As others have said, many places have cut off dates well before December, so your DS many not be eligible for K next year.   You school district probably has a website that will give you cut off dates and info about registering.


If your DS is eligible next year, then I would send him.  here's a very informative article on the subject.


You can also search the forum for "redshirt" or "redshirting" to see a lot more on this.

mom2happy's Avatar mom2happy 05:45 AM 01-17-2011

Around here it would be your choice. He would make the cutoff as long as he will be 5 by December.

It doesnt sound like he is ready

The advantage of extra time (imo) is the best way to go.

I always feel sorry for the 4 year olds in kindergarten. I was one of them and I feel that it really damaged my social life in school. I was always one step behind the other kids in understanding what was going on. I feel that 4 is still too toddlerish to have to deal with kindergarten, especially if it's a full day.

Alyantavid's Avatar Alyantavid 07:08 AM 01-17-2011

I'd probably hold him back too if it ends up being your choice.


My oldest started at 5.5 (March bday) and he's one of the youngest in his class.  There were several boys held back to repeat kindy so they're an entire year older. 


My now 4 year old will turn 5 and June and will go this fall.  I think he's ready, his preschool teacher thinks he's ready and he definitely feels like he's ready. :)  We'll see what the kindergarten screening says.

KCMichigan's Avatar KCMichigan 07:45 AM 01-17-2011

Original poster looks like she is in Canada!


Their system is different than the US and a child must be 5 by Dec31st so the  OP child is age eligible for K. I dont know if it is all day  or not, but they may also have different standards, given that a large percentage of students may still be 4 when the school year starts.


MJB's Avatar MJB 07:58 AM 01-17-2011

My oldest was 5.5 when he started kindergarten (January bday) and was not ready. I pulled him out after the first grading period and loosely homeschooled. He started 1st grade at 6.5 and did great. 

My second just turned 5 in December and is in all-day kindergarten. He is highly gifted and wanted to go. He does not meet the cut-off but got early admission. If anything, he'll need to skip another grade. 

So based on my kids who started at 5.5 (not ready) and 4.5 (ready), I'd just have to tell you it depends entirely on the kid. I think all-day kindergarten would be too much for most 4.5 yr. old boys. I think half-day would be okay for many 4.5 yr. olds. Some kids won't be ready at 5 or 5.5. My son's K class is mostly 6-6.5 now. 

Also, you can always try it and pull him out if it doesn't work out. 

StephandOwen's Avatar StephandOwen 08:24 AM 01-17-2011

Our cutoff for Kindergarten was 5 years old by October 1st. DS's birthday was October 3rd so he missed the cutoff. So ds was 5 years 10 months when he started Kindergarten. I think he was probably one of the oldest kids in his class, but he really needed that extra time to mature.

pianojazzgirl's Avatar pianojazzgirl 09:01 AM 01-17-2011

Yes, OP is in Canada.  As far as I know everywhere except here in Quebec it's a Dec 31 cutoff.  I don't imagine she'd be asking unless her ds was eligible for K in the fall.


OP I'm kind of having the opposite problem.  Here the cut-off is Sept 30.  Ds's b-day is Oct 3.  Dh is happy that he'll be the oldest in his class (per what you've been reading and hearing), but I'm worried that he'll be bored turning 6 at the beginning of K.  My dd is on the other end of the spectrum (youngest in the class - Sept 16 b-day), and she just turned 6 at the beginning of grade 1.  She was more than ready to do this grade level of work at this age.  I think she'd be going nuts sitting in a classroom learning K material (letter sounds, counting, etc).  That said, I do have similar concerns to you on the social level.  My ds hasn't even had the 4 hrs of preschool a wk that yours has - he's always been at home with us.  I'm not sure what kind of transition it'll be for him (dd was also never in daycare or preschool and it was a rough adjustment for the first month or so of school).  That said, I did just read somewhere that most daycare providers and preschool teachers suggest that it's actually MORE difficult for kids to go fewer than 3 half-days to school as it's just too much time away that they are constantly transitioning and never get "used" to it, iykwim.  You may find that your ds finds it even easier being at school more days a week for that reason.  Do you have the option of half-day K?

Minxie's Avatar Minxie 09:03 AM 01-17-2011

My son will be 5.5 (Feb b-day) when he starts this year.

Polliwog's Avatar Polliwog 09:50 AM 01-17-2011

My DS started kindergarten six weeks after his fifth birthday.  It was a hard year for him since he really wasn't ready (although he did fine in preschool.)  He's repeating kindergarten this year and it's like night and day.  He's having a great year.

sebandg'smama's Avatar sebandg'smama 10:09 AM 01-17-2011

Hi, fellow Canadian here,


I held my Dec 21st boy back.  I didn't put him in JK, sent him to SK when he should have been entering grade one.


So many people said that I couldn't/shouldn't hold him back.  But I knew that my son needed more time.  

The principal was thrown for a loop, but I was calm in my dealings because I knew that he was too young.  Not just because he was a boy, but because of his temperament (very very shy, emotionally immature).  I knew that the school wanted my son at their school (as they are always dealing with low enrolment and the possibility of having the school closed over the low numbers) and I knew that I could homeschool him if they insisted he start in grade one.


He is now in grade 6 and I do NOT regret my decision at all.  He does well in school, he has to work hard but he does not struggle as I knew he would if he was in his "proper" year.  Socially he does well, he is still a young 12 year old and when I see the differences physically in the 13 year old boys in his supposed grade I am so glad he is in the younger grade.


That said, I have seen other boys who are end of year babies, and they do just fine in their year. 


Red shirting (which I had never heard of prior to discussions) seems to be when you want to give your child a leg up.  There's a huge difference between not wanting your child to suffer through school vs be the best in their class.


Follow your instincts, you know your child the best, he might be just fine with extra support, or he may need to wait another year till he is ready. Please do not listen to those who insist you are not able to do what is best for your child.  


Best of luck with your decision,


nola79's Avatar nola79 10:15 AM 01-17-2011

Mine has a late October bday. Around here, the cutoff is 10/1 so he was 5 about to turn 6. I think it worked out well for him.

4evermom's Avatar 4evermom 10:16 AM 01-17-2011

I tried sending ds to half day pre-k when he had just turned 4 (by a week or so) because I thought full day k would be too big of a first step.  It's really the only parenting decision I regret.  We gave it a serious go, but ended up withdrawing him and homeschooling.  Looking back, he would have had a much better chance of adjusting more easily to school if I had held him back a year.  He was intellectually ready but 5 half days a week was too much for him at 4 yo and 5 full days would certainly have been too much at 5 yo.  I'd hold your ds back in your situation.  If he was loving preschool and asking for more, I'd consider it.  But he isn't so give him more time.  An extra year can make such a huge difference.

Perdita_in_Ontario's Avatar Perdita_in_Ontario 10:59 AM 01-17-2011

DS will be 4.5 when he starts Junior Kindergarten - so he'll be right in the middle of the pack. I'm glad for that.


FWIW, in some school districts around here, you can't red-shirt. Or more specifically, you can hold your child out of, say, junior kindergarten because you feel they're not ready, but next year they'll go into Senior Kindergarten, not Junior. It depends on policy, and probably more likely, the principal. So you'll need to check with your intended school.

lemurmommies's Avatar lemurmommies 11:04 AM 01-17-2011

Fellow Canadian here, with a boy who has a December birthday. :)


We're in Ontario, so my son just turned 4 in December and is already IN kindergarten (JK). My partner and I had many a long talk in the months leading up to kindergarten registration as to whether we were going to have our son start at 3.5. With the move to all-day, every day kindergarten for 4 and 5 year olds in Ontario, we decided that if our school was on the list for all-day, every day kindergarten for 2010, we'd hold him back. In the end, our school is only moving to all-day, every day kindergarten in Sept 2011, so we did register him.


Our son's school is on an all-day, alternate day schedule for kindergarten this year. He goes 8:30am to 3pm Monday, Wednesday, and every other Friday. Was it a difficult transition for him? Honestly, yes. We had decided prior to the start of the school year that we were going to give it an honest try and that if he was still having difficulties come Christmas, we'd pull him out for the rest of the year and have him go into SK this fall. September and October were tough, but come November and December, he has really been loving it. He is the youngest in his class, and it does show some in his maturity level (though there are older kids who have many of the same issues), but he is ahead academically and more on-par with those in the SK section of his JK/SK split.


You know your child best. If I were you, I would see if you can tour the school/attend kindergarten orientation and see how the school works. If you get a good vibe and think it would be a good fir for your son, it wouldn't hurt to try. You can always withdraw him if you see it isn't working, but you might be pleasantly surprised at how he adapts. I know that we were.

babymommy2's Avatar babymommy2 01:57 PM 01-17-2011

In Canada it can vary by province, but also school district. Our district had a Feb 28th cut off, so all chidlren would be 4.5 to 5.5 when they enter in sept, but most people that I know with Jan and Feb births waited until the folowing year. We waited with our son ( Jan birth)so he was 5.5, there were a lot of boys in his class that turned 6 that Jan. A few turned 5 in nov and dec. Not sorry at all we waited the extra year. Most people I talked to (before we made the decision) waited with jan and feb births, and the 2 moms I new who didnt', regretted it. ( one by the end of grade 1, one with an older son grade 3/4). I think my child is doing much better being one of the oldest in the class, rather than one of the youngest, and in some kids more than a year younger. I also have a march birthdya so he can't enter until 5.5, so I thought it would be unfair to start 1 child at 4.5 and 1 at 5.5,making them 3 years apart in school, when they are only 2 year and 5 weeks apart in age.

leighi123's Avatar leighi123 03:16 PM 01-17-2011

IF my ds goes to public school (I want to homeschool, but it might not work out), then he will start right after he turns 5.  He is super smart though and doing kindergarden work now, and he is only 3.  

KCMichigan's Avatar KCMichigan 03:47 PM 01-17-2011

I would assess him (or have the schools do it) closer to registration. A lot can change in a year.



I woudl talk to the teachers, visit the school, etc. 


You know your son- his strengths and weaknesses. It will vary by child and can change quickly.



I would have sent both my DD at 4.8 yrs if I could (could not due to cut off dates). K here is very very academic (which is fine our case) and has a LOT of writing. A child that just wants to play play play and is not interested in writing/reading/math and/or can not sit through a 5-10 minute lesson and a 20 min or so circle time would be best off waiting.


Our K teachers stress the following on readiness skills:


child can attend in a group for 10 min at least, child can follow directions fairly independently, child has age appropriate self care skills (put on coat, potty, etc), child can wait turn , child understands basic rules/concequences/routines, ability to attend to a task independently for at least 5 minutes


The rest they can teach (numbers/letters/names/etc). But the ultimate determining factor for success that we have been told by our K teacher (I taught in a K-5 building) is age appropriate attention span, ability to take turns, ability to follow directions, and ability to switch activities smoothly. Most of this is emotional maturity and some kids are just *not ready* to attend to things they just want to play and are not interested in learning to read/write and/or have not developed the attention span to attend to a short lesson and be able to apply it.


Determine your registration timeline and then take it from there. Some boys do great/ others need more time. It has more to do with maturity/personality than 'exact' age- you will find older kids that struggle and young kids that do fine.


Does your area have a summer 'intro' program for rising K kids? A K round-up? An open house? All those would be good activitites to help determine what to do.


Also-- you can repeat K or homeschool K. Really- what you decide now does not  have to be a whole year if it does not work out. Some kids adjust well and others need to regroup at home. Still others flourish and really do better than expected. There is no way to know- my suggestion would be to have a chat with the school K teachers, get a clear understanding of what is expected of K students, and then possible have him observed/evaluated for readiness. Then use your beset judgement and know that if it does not work out, you can switch things up.


Curriculum will also play into it. In our area lots of boys wait. Here, K kids are reading (or expected to) mid year. They also are writing basic sentences. What used to be 1st grade work is now K.  Most kids go in knowing colors/letters/numbers (what used to be K curriculum) and/or are expected to learn them quickly at the start of the year. I was suprised at how much writing (fine motor) is done. I think that is the major hurdle. Some kids just dont have the fine motor control and/or desire to learn to write/read at that age. The old state we lived in was more basic and a 1/2 program.... so areas can vary widely on expectations and curriculum. look into it before you decide.

Tjej's Avatar Tjej 04:23 PM 01-17-2011

My DS is December kid and starts kindy at 4 (in Canada).  I don't know how it works where you live, but where I live you could homeschool the K year and get money to do that, then see how your child is the next year - if he is ready for 1st or K.  If you're thinking of waiting a year, I don't see how it would hurt to get money to do stuff together for a year instead of just waiting (pays for zoo trips, etc.).  I'm strongly considering homeschooling, but even if I wasn't, it'd be an option for that "in between" year.




ETA:  It could also be perfectly fine to start your DS in school as normal in K at 4 - I'm not saying you shouldn't do that.  It really depends on the kid.  I just think that if you decide not to do that, don't forget about the homeschooling money that is available to you. 

hollytheteacher's Avatar hollytheteacher 05:00 PM 01-17-2011

In my state the child must be 5 by Sept 1.  My ds will turn 5 on Aug 26th 2012 (5 days before cutoff so he is able to go) but i'm choosing to wait until he turns 6.

kdescalzi's Avatar kdescalzi 07:20 PM 01-17-2011

Thank you for all the great replies!! Here in Canada, ds will be allowed to go to school at age 4. He is very bright and loves to learn new things. He builds puzzles geared to 6yr olds, builds amazing marble racers, draws extremely well, and loves to practice letters and math. The reason he would not be ready is because he doesn't want to be away from me. I have contemplated HS and still may. In my city it is now full day kindy and I think that is ridiculous. The only school that will do part time is a private school which would cost 300$ a month. I just hope this is considered normal because he is the only child in his ps that has this problem. I have no problem holding him back....I do not want my baby to grow up and be in school full time...he is still my baby!! I get people asking if I will hold him back or keep taking him out of school everytime he says he doesn't want to go. I want to follow his lead but I need to make sure he isn't calling all the shots just because he can and not because he really doesn't like it. kwim??

KCMichigan's Avatar KCMichigan 07:40 PM 01-17-2011

Originally Posted by kdescalzi View Post

The reason he would not be ready is because he doesn't want to be away from me. I have contemplated HS and still may. In my city it is now full day kindy and I think that is ridiculous. The only school that will do part time is a private school which would cost 300$ a month. I just hope this is considered normal because he is the only child in his ps that has this problem. I have no problem holding him back....I do not want my baby to grow up and be in school full time...he is still my baby!! I get people asking if I will hold him back or keep taking him out of school everytime he says he doesn't want to go. I want to follow his lead but I need to make sure he isn't calling all the shots just because he can and not because he really doesn't like it. kwim??

This is a concern--- even if you wait a year, you will most likely face the same problem. I teach 3 yr old preschool (it is twice a week for 1/2 day). Many (though not all) 3 yr olds that have trouble seperating from parents at 3- also have trouble at 4 (we have a 4 yr old program that is 1/2 days for four days).


I would talk to the school social worker if you can. They have experience and may be able to tell the difference between your concerns (him calling shots and not liking it) and suggest some methods to help him cope better. Even if you do HS, she/he could have some good insight on how to give him some tools to control his anxiety/concerns.


Another option is=== can you send him to the full day program and simply take him out 1/2 a day and HS that time? I know that in the US (in my area) this is an option for my DD next fall. We can choose to pick her up at lunch if we want to (she has serious fatigue concerns and may not be able to go a full day gross motor wise).

pianojazzgirl's Avatar pianojazzgirl 07:42 PM 01-17-2011

I think what I'd do in your shoes is: a) check out schools to find the one that you like best, b) enroll him for K, c) give it a little time to see how it's going, d) leave him in K if it's going great, or take him out and HS for the rest of the year if not, and finally e) sign him up for grade 1 the next year (unless you end up HSing and want to continue HSing).  It sounds like academically he's ready for K (and will be even more advanced in another 8 months!), but he just might not be ready for that much time away from you.  To me, in that case, it makes more sense to wait another year for school (if indeed that's necessary - you'll find out in the fall), but not to have him wait a whole other year for K because likely he'd be bored "learning" stuff he already knows.

meetoo's Avatar meetoo 06:17 AM 01-18-2011

We have a dec cut off too. My son started school this year, at not quite five. He was more than ready and is doing just fine.  My youngest has a Dec B-day, but we have a few more years before we need to decide.   My best advice is wait to decided. See what he is like come summer time. Ask around if more kids are held out or if the majority of late birthday's are sent? Does the school do a screening?  If he all around seems like he isn't ready than I would most likely hold him out, but if it's only one or two areas your worried about send him. Kids go to K all over the board as far as readiness goes. :) 

Imagining's Avatar Imagining 06:52 AM 01-18-2011

We also have a son who would technically be ready to start kindergarten next Fall, but we are choosing to wait a year to avoid him being one of the youngest in his class.  He's one of the oldest in his preschool class now and is thriving.  Being one of the oldest in class allows him to really rise up and not just swept up in the older children play.  


I also considered it from the perspective of when they are older.  I have a niece who was very ready intellectually to start kindergarten as one of the youngest in her class, but she just graduated high school last year and is far less mature at this point than her classmates.  She seems lost and just not quite ready to be out in the world on her own.  Holding her back from starting kindergarten might have helped.


My husband was also one of the youngest in his class and they decided in 2nd grade to hold him back because they thought he would do better as one of the older children in class.  It was much harder for him at that point to watch his friends go on to the next grade and him stay behind.  Delaying the start for our son will hopefully avoid anything like that.


And.... I don't want to have him grow up any faster than he has to! 

karne's Avatar karne 08:10 AM 01-18-2011

Just turned 6 at the start of kindy.  Other choice was just turned 5, which despite beng academically advanced, did not fit with what we felt would be good for our son.  There was no perfect answer, but this has turned out the best, as we can see as his school career progresses.

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