Laura need our advice on this folks

students-at-desksOk, I have a question that, if you want to use it, I would like to put to your readers….  They seem like a pretty level-headed bunch, so I’m thinking they can help me out.

Hot Rod is going to repeat Kindergarten.  When he started this past Aug., we knew that he would be the youngest in his class, but he was academically ready, if a little “wiggly”.  It was always an option on the table that if he needed it, he would repeat.  And now we’re here.  His writing and cutting skills (“fine motor skills”) aren’t quite up to snuff, and our family had a very difficult year, emotionally, so we feel he could use the time to grow and mature a bit more.  I’m very comfortable and, frankly, happy with the situation.  I think it’s the right choice for him, and our family.  My question is this….

How do I tell him?  How do I frame this?  Most (if not, all) of his class is advancing to First Grade next year.  And it’s a tiny school, only 130 kids, with 13 of those kids in Kindergarten, so everyone knows everybody else.  *I* know, intellectually, that this is the right thing, but I don’t want to crush him, or have him feel like he has failed in any way, because he absolutely has not.

What do you folks think?  Any ideas?



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16 Responses to Laura need our advice on this folks

  1. Sue says:

    Hey Laura. I can’t imagine how hard this is. The only thing I’ve got is to talk to the teacher. When Trinity started kindergarten, there was a boy who came into the room during open house and the teacher greeted him happily and said “oh, so and so, it’s great to see you again! I know that you know a lot of what we do so I’m hoping you’ll be able to help me during the year with lots of stuff. I’m so glad to have you in the class!”

    I thought is was a little much that she said it loud enough for everyone to hear, but I don’t think it was on purpose. Those teachers are dramatic about everything! So, I would ask his teacher for some advice on how other parents have handled it in the past.

    I’d also ask him what he thinks about the situation. (Although I’m sure you probably have) Does he have any questions/concerns that you can help with. Maybe he’s worried that his friends won’t want to play with him at recess or they’ll call him names. Make sure he feels good about it too and understands why it’s necessary. Good luck!

  2. SKL says:

    This is a tough question! I guess I’d start telling him that some people take two years of kindergarten, and get him used to the idea that it’s not a shameful thing before I’d actually tell him. Let him know of other people you know (hopefully there are some) who have done this and are none the worse for it. I don’t have personal experience here, so I’m not much help.

    I recall the boy in my KG who was held back. I thought he would be ruined for life, but he actually loved his second year of KG, came to love the teacher (same one he couldn’t make a connection with the prior year), and was really a happy and confident kid. So hopefully Hot Rod will be quite happy with the situation once he gets used to the idea.

    Good luck!

  3. JavaQueen says:

    I would think that you have to put the most positive spin on this possible. Things like, “Kindergarten is the most fun year of school – remember all the fun times you had? You are so lucky because you get to do it again!” Also, “Your teacher is so happy that you are going to be with her again because you already know how to behave so well that you can be helpful to show the other kids!” Or explaining that a lot of kids have had to repeat the year so they can fully understand and be more ready to go to the next grade…

    I hope this helps a little bit. You are such a good mom to take all of this into consideration- especially his feelings because they are so important. This will surely boost his confidence at the same time, how can that be a bad thing? Best of luck to you Laura!

  4. pammy wammy says:

    My second son repeated kindergarten.He was not ready to continue to 1st grade.All school to him was ,fun time and play time.He should of stayed home one more year.He didnt mind returning to kindergarten a second time.I just explained that he was to return to kindergarten the next year and he was ok with it.I didnt over talk about it.He had a great summer break.And when it was time for school,it went better for him the second time around.He was ready for it.And he would start to feel helpful to his teacher and help her sometimes.Cause he already knew what was to be done.I remember him coming home so proud of himself.I believe its easier on a child to repeat kindergarten then to have to repeat in higher grades.Is gets harder emotionally on a child when that happens.He will do great,wait and see.You are such an awesome mom to be concerned about his feelings.

  5. Laura (LS) says:

    Well…. an opportunity came up over breakfast this morning.

    I’m working on putting together a project based on the Iditarod (dog sled race in AK), for his current teacher. Hot Rod is very familiar with the race, so he was looking at some of the stuff with me, and I told him that I was doing it for his teacher to maybe use next year.

    He thought that was cool, so I figured, “what the heck?”

    So I said, “You like Miss R, don’t you?”

    Big smile, “yeah”

    “You think you might like to be in her class again next year?”

    Another big smile, “YEAH!”

    “You know, sometimes, kids get to go to kindergarten for TWO YEARS! You think you’d like to do that?”


    “Well, I think I might be able to arrange that for you.”

    And he was very happy. So we’ll see…. so far, so good.

    Thanks, everyone…. keep them coming, I’ll be filing this away for the coming two humps: last day of school, and the beginning of next year.

    • nikki says:

      WOW doesn’t sound like it could have gone any better! Sounds like you did good! i think if it’s going to happen it should happen now. If I were to hold Bailey back, and I would if I felt it necessary, he’d be devastated but he’ll be in the 4th grade..big difference!

  6. Joy says:

    I love the way you handled it at breakfast. My advice would be to play it as low key as possible. My oldest, Jason has an August 25 b-day. He was borderline ready to go. We’d moved when he was going on 4 so he missed the preschool screening. A quarter of the way through the year his teacher came to us and said things like “he’s so young,” “he’s a boy,” things like that and he may not be ready for first grade. I was willing to do what she thought best but in our district there was an in between K and first grade. It was called The Readiness Room and he flourished there. We found out he was deaf in one ear and needed glasses pretty bad. He was also young compared to the other kids.

    I also feel that “holding back” isn’t always a good idea. It can lead to feelings of “not good enough” and “I’m dumb” but those are only if it’s not handled right by the teacher and the parent. In this case, you saw it coming like I did and you can prepare for it so he doesn’t feel bad about himself which I know you would never allow.

    Also, from a person who worked in a school, kids won’t always remember things from this age. They remember but they don’t remember specifics. None of the new kindergartners will know unless he tells them which he most likely won’t because it most likely won’t come up and the ones he knows now, he’ll still know and will still be friends with some of them. I feel it’s much harder to do this at a later date and in a higher grade.

  7. Just a Mom says:

    My oldest daughter was on the young side when she started school and I really wish I would have held her back in kindergarten. We ended up holding her back in 5th grade. We were going from a private school to a public school so she was not affected by the kids. We made sure she knew it was nothing to do with her, it was not her fault at all, it was actually a decision meant to help her.

  8. Reading your comment, Laura, I see that you’ve basically already told him. First of all, I think you chose a good way to check out how he’d take it and then tell him. Second, I don’t think he’ll be crushed if only because most kids of that age aren’t really thinking about what first grade means. He’s not necessarily looking forward to learning to read, write and do math. As long as kindergarten was a good experience for him, I think he’ll continue to be happy there.
    As for the problem of everyone knowing everyone – well, he might just have an advantage there. If he has good friends who will be starting first grade, they can keep in touch while he makes new friends in his new kindergarten class. If he keeps those friendships, then in a couple years he’ll be that cool kid who has friends in the class above as well as his own class. Also, his maturity in later years will definitely be a plus compared to the other boys.

  9. mssc54 says:

    Gosh… I don’t want to tread on anyone’s toes so Joy if this doesn’t fit please delete it.

    I don’t remember going to kindergarten when I started school. I started school in LA in the first grade and mid-way through the school year we moved to MS. At the end of the school year the teachers and my parents felt that it would be best for Mike to keep him back in the first grade one more year. I’m 54 years old now and I (to this day) remember that. I felt like I was dumb. I never cared much for school after that.

    If it were me I would tell the teachers/administrators to move him on to the first grade and give him the chance to succeed. I would fight to make the teachers work and not worry if it were easy on them or not. And remember my Mrs. is a school teacher.

    Since you asked.

    • Laura (LS) says:

      I appreciate the perspective, Mssc… believe me, I’ve worried this to the point of obsession. But I’ve also learned, especially in the past year, to listen to my gut, and my gut’s telling me that Hot Rod can use the extra year. Academically, he’s spot-on, but there are some issues of maturity that I think he still needs to develop. One big concern is that if we push him too hard now, he won’t have that opportunity to mature, and then, in a year or two, we’ll be sitting in a doctor’s office, consulting about ADD meds.

      But I do, very much, appreciate the alternate viewpoint. No decision this big should be made in a vacuum, and you bring up some good points.

      Thank you.

  10. javajunkee says:

    yep I’m thinking you handled it great at breakfast and maybe if it comes down to it you can get the teacher to make it “special” that he’s coming back to help her with this particular project. You did good!!!

  11. Laura (LS) says:

    Thanks, all, for the valuable input, and the support.

    This hasn’t been an easy time, and it’s nice to have this community with which to knock things around.

    An update…. we discussed it a little over dinner tonight, too, and I told him that I “fixed it” with his teacher so that he can do a second year of Kindergarten. I talked him a little about his friends in Preschool who have gone two years there, and said, “sometimes kids go two years in Kindergarten, too. You will enjoy it.”

    He asked about the high-points of this year – visiting the pumpkin patch, the 100 Day Celebration, and the Iditarod Project that I was putting together. I told him that he could count on two of the three events to happen next year. We’re not sure about the Iditarod yet! He is also looking forward to “helping” in the classroom.

    I think we’ll do ok with this one.

    Thanks for all the wonderful input. You can’t know how much it’s appreciated.


    • Joy says:

      We’re a little different here than over at that “OTHER” place huh?? Feel free anytime to bring things to us for discussion. That’s what I love about this.

      I’m so glad he’s doing well and I do believe that the better you make it sound is how well it will turn out in the end. Bring it up in good ways often and he’ll look forward to it. You have such a good way with him to begin with.

      Anyone, if you come here and you have a problem or anything you’d like to bring to the table for discussion, please let us know. We welcome the help and different subjects. We also value all who come here and talk sense and care about one another.

  12. JQ says:

    That is fabulous news Laura! So happy for you! What a relief!

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