Kindergarten is a big step for both parents and children. It’s a big change from homeschooling or attending a preschool to a big kindergarten classroom, which is one of the main reasons why there are a lot of tears during the first day of school.
Most children can adjust to the kindergarten setting after a while. However, keep in mind that children develop at different rates. And sometimes, it can be more beneficial to your child if you delay kindergarten. This is especially true if you notice the following signs in your child:
Inability to sit still for more than five minutes
Children are naturally fidgety, but most kids at kindergarten age are able to sit still and pay attention to the teacher for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time. If your child is unable to do so, it may be a sign that your child is not yet ready for kindergarten.
Every child learns at a different pace. But if your child is taking longer than normal to learn basic topics like shapes, numbers, and the alphabet, you might want to push back kindergarten for a year. Difficulty learning does not automatically mean that they have a developmental delay, but they may continue to struggle if you enroll them in kindergarten before they are ready. Nevertheless, it’s best to check in with a child specialist to make sure everything is normal.
Lack of emotional and social development
Before you enroll your child in kindergarten, ask yourself if they have the social and emotional skills to be around other kids and teachers all day. Can they interact with other children normally? Are they able to share or take turns with others? Can they separate from you without having a meltdown?
If the answers to these questions are ‘no’, it may be more beneficial to you and your child to delay kindergarten. Otherwise, the experience may be extremely stressful for both of you.
Underdeveloped motor skills
Children entering kindergarten should have the motor skills to use school materials, such as pencils, scissors, and crayons. If they are not able to handle these tools properly, your child may need more time to develop their gross and fine motor skills. You don’t want to send them to school only to have them fall behind because they struggle with the school materials. When you do skip the year, spend the time fine-tuning their motor skills.
Shutting down while learning
Does your child shut down or become excessively frustrated when trying to learn something new? If so, determine the cause of this behavior before you enroll them in kindergarten. In any case, it may be better to delay kindergarten because this can make learning difficult not only for your child but also for other students in their class.
If your child is unable to communicate their needs or feelings effectively, especially with unfamiliar people, it is a sign that you should wait before starting kindergarten. Communication is a crucial skill for all young learners, so it may be best to develop their ability to communicate before starting formal school. You can do this at home by reading with your child, asking open-ended questions, and talking with them more often.
Non-independence for everyday tasks
Children need to be potty-trained before they start school. Occasional accidents are okay, but your child needs to be able to go to the bathroom on their own. More than that, they should be able to accomplish simple tasks like eating, putting on their shoes, and washing their hands. If they still need a lot of help with these tasks, consider putting off kindergarten for now.
If you notice one or more of the following signs in your preschooler, it may be a good idea to delay kindergarten for their own sake and the sake of their classmates and teachers. Don’t worry, your child will be ready at some point. They may just need a little time for now.