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Is your summer baby ready for kindergarten? 3 questions to ask yourself before you decide!

(File Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s a choice parents of a summer baby are often faced with. Should their little one head to Kindergarten or wait another year?

My five-year-old son Ledger was born four weeks early, on July 16, 2018. His official due date wasn’t until early August. So, he fits into this category.

Just weeks ago, my husband and I were faced with this exact decision. Technically, Ledger made the cut-off, but was he ready? Were WE ready? Would he benefit from waiting another year? Socially? Academically? Even athletically? (My husband is a former pro baseball player, so athletics are something he certainly considers.) On the other hand though, are we prepared to pay for yet ANOTHER year of daycare?

It’s a lot for parents to think about.

Nancy Gretzinger, Ed.D., is a retired educator with more than 40 years of experience.

She says, “Technically, the young August child may be two years difference if someone did hold their August child back. That’s a distinct gap in experience for a young kid and could make the first year of Kindergarten a struggle.”

Even so, Gretzinger says parents may feel their child is “ready” or already “so smart.”

When this happens, Getzinger urges parents to be sure. “Many schools have registration the prior spring before for planning purposes,” she says. “Typically, this may also include a Kindergarten readiness screening.”

Knowledge isn’t the only consideration to make, according to Psychologist Robert Zeitlin. “What’s the local norm?” he encourages parents to ask. “Is it a school district where parents take an extra year before Kindergarten so they’re more developmentally ready for challenges in middle school, high school, and athletics?”

He feels that keeping a kid in preschool allows them to develop more skills before heading into what he says has become essentially a first-grade curriculum.

“If you suspect your child is slightly behind the curve developmentally, and if you can afford to, take the opportunity to retain them before Kindergarten,” Zeitlin says. “At least 75% of the time, I’d recommend parents consider that.”

How to Decide if an August Baby is Ready to Go to School

  • Ask yourself, “Can they print their name? Recognize and draw shapes? Do they know their colors?”
  • Are they able to separate from parents? Do they know and can they print the alphabet?
  • Do they seem to be slightly behind the developmental curve compared to their peers?

Just remember, holding a child back before Kindergarten tends to result in far fewer repercussions than holding them back once they’ve entered the school system.

As for Ledger, we decided he would thrive more by having an additional year in preschool, as opposed to us sending him to Kindergarten this year.

In the end, it was a short-term decision for hopefully, long-term benefits.

And hey, if he ever does make it to the big leagues or become an academic scholar, here’s hoping he’ll thank mom and dad for paving the way, all those years ago.

If anything, we’re setting him up to be ahead of the game.

And for us, that’s a win-win!