Your child spent preschool and kindergarten learning skills they need to be successful with future academics. It’s important to build a strong foundation for your child to grow on. If the foundation is weak, then everything built on it will be weak as well. Here’s 8 signs you might want to hold your kindergartner back, and work on their foundation.
1. LACK OF MATURITY
Maturity is actually one of the biggest factors when it comes to being ready to go to the first grade. Age can have a lot to do with your kindergartener’s maturity level. Depending on how old your child was when they started kindergarten, they may still have some maturing to do.
Depending on your kindergartener’s birthday, they may have started school at five, or in some cases even four. If your kindergartener is the youngest in their class, and you’re noticing a significant difference in their maturity level in comparison to their classmates, they may not have been quite ready for kindergarten.
Of course, age is not the only factor when it comes to maturity. The oldest kid in the class may be the most immature, and the youngest may show maturity well beyond their years. No matter what age they started, kindergarteners are going to act silly, but it’s important to note repeated immature behaviors such as:
- Being disruptive to their classmates
- Overreacting to minor things
- Yelling/ Acting out
- Refusing to cooperate
There may be medical explanations to some of these things, and if you feel your kindergartener is displaying these acts in an unmanageable way, speak with your pediatrician.
2. DOESN’T SHOW INTEREST
If your kindergartener just doesn’t show interest in what’s going on around them, they may still be daydreaming about preschool. After all, preschool was so much fun, and it was their first experience with school. They had no idea it couldn’t all be about blocks and arts & crafts forever.
If your child only had one year of preschool before kindergarten, they may not have gotten it all out of their system yet. If your kindergartener isn’t interested in learning, then they won’t absorb the information they’re being given. Basically, it’s “in one ear, out the other.”
On the other hand, lack of interest could also mean that your child is bored, and needing more of a challenge. It’s important to identify if your child needs more of a challenge in school so you don’t end up holding them back, when they could actually benefit from skipping a level all together.
Pay extra attention to your kindergartener at home. Do the skills they use at home match up to how they are performing in school? If your kindergartener is reading books on their own at home, but refuses to read in class, the books provided in class might not spark their interest.
It’s important to have open communication with your child’s teacher, and express to them if you feel your child needs a challenge. They can help point you in the right direction.
3. POOR SOCIAL SKILLS
Preschool is an important time to learn social skills, so they can be applied in kindergarten. By kindergarten, children are expected to understand how to behave in a social situation, and socialize with their classmates without too much conflict. Put a group of kindergarteners together though, and there’s bound to be some situations to work through here and there.
The important thing is that your kindergartener has the skills to work through these things. When little Stacey asks for a turn with the toy your kindergartener has been playing with for a while now, or when class bully Ben comes over and knocks down their tower, what choice will they make? Your kindergartener should be able to:
- Share with others, and also not take things without asking
- Express themselves without violence or yelling
- Keep their hands to themselves
- Show empathy towards others
- Know how to say “Please” and “Thank you”
4. DELAYED MOTOR SKILLS
There are two different types of motor skills that are important in your kindergartener’s development:
Fine Motor Skills
Build the small muscles in the hands and wrists. Examples of fine motor skills are:
- Holding a pencil
- Turning a door knob
- Using scissors
- Doing puzzles
- Using buttons and zippers
- Using a fork or spoon
- Washing hands
Gross Motor Skills
Build the large muscles in the arms, shoulders, back, and legs. Examples of Gross motor skills are:
- Playing on a playground
- Throwing a ball
In order to be able to be successful in the first grade and beyond, your kindergartner needs to be able to master all of these things.
5. BEHIND IN ACADEMICS
In kindergarten, academics really start to matter more. By the end of kindergarten your child needs to have a foundational knowledge to expand on. Your child’s first grade teacher is going to teach class based off of your child already knowing these things:
- The alphabet
- Sight words
- Basic shapes, and how to draw them
- Basic addition and subtraction
- Basic colors
- How to spell their entire name
- How to express an opinion
- How to count to 100
- How to write numbers 1-20
- How to use scissors properly
If your preschooler is struggling in several of these areas, working on them for another year in kindergarten can make a huge difference, allowing for a much better first grade experience.
6. SHORT ATTENTION SPAN
It doesn’t matter how smart your kindergartner is, if they can’t pay attention, they can’t learn. Children this age inherently have short attention spans, but by kindergarten your child should be able to focus on a task for at least 10-15 minutes at a time.
If your kindergartner is getting up every 3 minutes in the middle of a story book, they may not be able to focus on an even more lengthy task by the time first grade rolls around. In your child’s experience so far, teachers have understood the need to hold attention, and will happily sing, dance, and come up with creative ways to get your child’s focus back.
By first grade your child’s teacher is probably enforcing more mature ways to keep the children paying attention, so if your kindergartner’s attention is only grabbed when the puppets come out, they may not be ready to sit through 30 minutes of social studies.
7. DOESN’T FOLLOW RULES
In order for your kindergartener to succeed throughout grade school, they will have to learn to obey rules. There’s no way around it. Kindergartners are given the benefit of the doubt a lot of the time, and their misbehavior is typically turned into an opportunity to teach better behaviors.
In grade school, your kindergartener will be expected to know exactly how to behave while in school. Class disruptions, outbursts, and refusal to obey won’t be tolerated. Overly disruptive children may be sent out of class so the children that want to learn are able to. If your child is spending more time in the principal’s office then they are in class, then they aren’t going to benefit from advancing to the first grade.
8. TEACHER RECOMMENDS IT
Your kindergartner’s teacher is your best judge on if your kindergartener is showing the ability to succeed in first grade and beyond. If they come to you with a concern, it’s in the best interest of your child. It’s important not to think your kindergarteners teacher is speaking to you from a judgmental place, or trying to belittle your child.
Teachers want one thing for your child…for them to succeed. If your kindergartener’s teacher thinks your child has a better chance of succeeding in the future, if you hold them back a year now, it might be a good idea to listen.
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