It’s a hard decision for all of us to make….figuring out whether or not your child is ready for formal education. While they may already be in a mommy’s morning out or daycare program, making the jump to a more formalized school setting can be stressful on both the child and the parent. There are many considerations that need to be taken into account when deciding if the time is right or if you should wait. Let’s look at a few of them.
Sex: No, not that kind of sex! While I might have that talk with my preteen, I’m talking about whether they are male or female. In many cases boys mature more slowly than girls meaning that little girls may be ready for the stricter setting of school sooner than their male counterparts. This is not an across the boards judgement, just a consideration that should be taken into account when considering schooling.
Birthday: My oldest son has a September birthday. He could have started school a year sooner than he did. However, my husband also has a September birthday and ended up being the youngest child in his class. After seeing that being the youngest had some major drawbacks, for us holding our son out a year longer to ensure that he was ready for school was the smart decision.
Maturity: This ties back into the male/female issue we were talking about earlier. Some children just mature faster than others. Some are ready and willing to sit still and pay attention in school while some are still in the phase where this is more difficult for them. Allowing your child to enter school at the time when the are mature enough to sit during class, follow instructions and interact with their peers will benefit you, your child and their teacher!
Emotional Readiness: Have a child that has separation anxiety? Does your son or daughter emotionally need more time before entering the classroom? If so, it’s OK! While I’ve heard many times that you should make them go anyway so they will grow up, my belief is that you only have a child at home with you for a short while and if they emotionally need you by their side for longer, that A-OK with me!
Any Delays/Impediments: It’s important to remember that every child is not exactly alike and some children may have delays or impediments that keep them from being ready for school with their peers. My youngest son works with a speech therapist weekly. We hope this will help him be ready for school next year but if he’s not, we’re willing to take an additional year to ensure that when he does go to school, we’re doing everything we can to ensure a successful experience!
While guidelines are in place, it is essential to know your own child and work within those guidelines to determine the correct time for them to enter school. If you have questions or concerns, talk with local educators and go with your gut! Know that the option to repeat a year is always there and that pushing your child forward when they need extra time can often do more harm than good. Then remember that you are the parent. You know your child. And you know the decisions that are best for them. Hold strong in the knowledge and I can assure you that starting school will be a memorable experience for both you and your child!