When Should You Hold Your Child Back A Grade?

Many parents are often worried and cautious about their child’s transition from kindergarten to first grade. There are unanswered kindergarten kidsquestions and concerns that the child faces. Oftentimes it may prove beneficial for the child to repeat kindergarten and have another year to develop pre-academic and social skills.

Questions that need to be kept in mind when deciding about holding the child back or moving him or her forward include:

  1. How is your child doing with learning basic academic skills? Is he or she learning all letters, letter sounds, numbers, etc? Is this an area that would need further guidance and assistance?
  2. How is the child doing socially and emotionally? Is your child able to transition readily from the house to the school environment? Does your child have friends and engage in appropriate play with others? How does your child deal with changes in routine?
  3. When is your child’s birthday? If it is a late birthday, holding him or her back might not be that major since he or she will not be much older than the rest of the class.
  4. What are the kindergarten teacher’s thoughts? She has the best opportunity to provide insight about your child’s learning styles and social functioning in comparison to same age peers.
  5. What are your thoughts as parent? Always remember that at the end of the day, you are your child’s best advocate.

Holding a child back in kindergarten is not the worst thing to possibly happen. The child has another year to mature and develop. In addition, the child is able to receive additional intervention and services in order to catch up with peers and ensure that first grade will be the utmost success. Remember, pay now or pay later. If things are pointing to next year being tough and him or her not being ready, don’t rush. It’s great to be mature for your grade.

3 replies
  1. FlunkingIsNoFun
    FlunkingIsNoFun says:

    I can’t speak for any of the parents, as you know your child better than anyone. But one thing I would caution, if your child has low self-esteem already, please think long and hard before you decide to hold your child back. I was held back in first grade, and it was a pretty devastating experience. Almost on par with loosing a parent. Just imagine that everyone at your job got a promotion except you. Then at the yearly company parties, they rub it in your face about how great it was or made fun of you because you didn’t get promoted. Or maybe they simply kept asking why you didn’t get promoted, and you had to come up with an answer that wouldn’t further embarrass or erode what little self-esteem you had left, by further making light of your inadequacies when trying to answer them. Now take it one step further and pretend that happened to you for the next 12 years in a row. That’s what being held back felt like during grades 1-12. Seeing all my friends move forward, while I stayed behind had a lasting affect on me. I always felt that I could never measure up. I never felt I was ever good enough, always lagging one grade back. I always felt I was forever one step behind them. I always felt I was never smart enough. I still struggle with self esteem and self confidence issues to this day.

    I’m not saying all children will go through what I went through if they are held back, but just be careful and make sure your child has a healthy self-esteem before you do decide to hold them back. When counselors or teachers say “your child is only 5, they’ll forget and get over it. They’re too young to know what’s going on.” Do not believe them. I’m 40 years old. I knew and understood what being held back meant when I was 5, I’m still not 100% over it, and I remember it as if it happened yesterday.

    Please, as a parent, if you take away anything from this post, do everything in your power to boost your child’s self esteem at an early age. Because self-confidence is much harder to build when you’re older. If I had a choice between raising a child to be over-confident and cocky vs one who had no self esteem, I would choose the former. A cocky child can always pick themselves up when they fall and with time, they will be humbled. A child who falls with no self esteem may not be able to pick themselves back up. Promoting self-esteem, and self confidence in your child is the greatest gift you can ever give them as a parent. The gift of loving yourself. Please be very careful and talk to them before you do decide to hold them back.

    -Mo

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