I see you, Mama, watching from the sidelines as kindergarten registration opens and you sense the urgency of a decision of whether or not your child is ready for the jump. Summer birthdays complicate the decision, and for many, it can feel overwhelming and final.
Let me start by saying – YOU KNOW YOUR CHILD BEST, Mama – and that is the clearest lens to look outward and forward from than all the comparative views of others.
Standing witness to other children registering who are playmates with your child may feel like yours is taking a backseat or becoming “behind,” but that can often times be a clouded view and does not rest as truth. My youngest is a May birthday, and the decision felt stretched and torn as I looked at it from different angles until I looked straight at my little one and my Mama heart just knew, “See you next year, Kinder.”
For those of you who are standing in the trenches of this decision, know that we learned from conversations with preschool teachers, kinder administrators, and other families with both 5 and 6-year-old kindergartners. This led us to consider our child’s personality, school eagerness level, and learning style as we made the move to wait.
Lay down the fear that your decision will halt their growth.
The final decision felt weighty at first because thoughts of withholding him from growth or watching him struggle circled our decision like a roller coaster. Releasing the future places of struggle versus growth, and focusing on your child’s readiness at the moment will ease any anxiety and give confidence that the decision made today is best for your child. Once you make the decision, release it and know that you are impacting their future with an intentional presence from your support and love.
Create healthy expectations for your child.
Whether a parent decides to send or wait, the need for creating healthy expectations for their development and confidence remains. This year of wait has been a tender, savored place of learning for my child in deeper ways, and choosing activities and investments with the knowledge of building up his readiness. It is true that the expectations for a kinder now are much higher than in years past, and if a parent feels their child would step into it from a healthier place by waiting, then allow that space to be teaching ground.
Your child will benefit from investments you give them as a young 5 in kinder or as a newly 6 because the intentionality to rise to your child’s needs and growth patterns will ask the same of you. Learn how your child responds best to their environment and create a safe space for them to explore and grow.
See your child for who they are TODAY and let your decision rest peacefully, knowing you responded to their needs with perspective and with discernment.