One mum confesses she regrets her decision to hold her child back from school for another year.
Sharing with MoM she sadly wrote: “Oh mums, I feel awful. It was such a difficult decision to make but I really did feel that I did the right thing by giving my daughter another year in pre-school.
“But when I dropped off my son and seen the ‘big school’ kids, I have the biggest doubt that I made a BIG mistake.
“She should be there too, in her school uniform learning all sorts of things. Instead, it feels like she’s wasting her time playing around. I know people say that you won’t ever regret ‘keeping them back’ but I do.”
MoM’s share their advice
Our kind mums have shared their wise words of wisdom with some even saying it is NEVER too late to enrol if you think that is what is best for your child.
Other mums said:
Sarah kindly advised: “Play is the most important part of learning for young children. Don’t think she’s wasting time. She is getting so many skills out of it that will prepare her for the social/emotional aspects of school, as well as developing important fine & gross motor skills imperative to success in academics.”
Tina agreed: “Play is an important part of learning and it’s never wasted. She won’t miss out on anything, she will still learn. Don’t beat yourself up, it isn’t permanent and it won’t impact her negatively in anyway. You did the right thing.”
They May Not Be Ready
Karan added: “It’s crueler to put them in before they’re ready and then they see all their little friends move up while they stay in kindy. You know your own child and if you had doubts about her ability to cope then you did the right thing keeping her back a year.”
Amanda said: “If you had sent her this year, you might of still be doubting that you did the right thing. Next year, she will have gained more socially, and you will never doubt it again, as it is not going to be a bad thing at all.”
Susan said: “No harm done. It all sorts itself out in the wash. Chances are she will be more on top of things when she does start school and be able to take more of a lead in class which is great for confidence. Also if you think she is ready there are always the weekends and after school for ‘learning’ with you! Imagine what you can do to help broaden her experience (eg music, reading, drawing, art, dance, sport etc.) without all the distracting routine of school that ended up taking up WAY more time that we would have liked in the early years.”
What the experts say
Research is constantly being done on whether it benefits a child to delay starting school or if it actually harms them. The research is quite conflicting because many researchers find that it benefits your child a great deal to start school later and others feel that there is either no impact or it benefits them.
Positives to a delayed start:
- They are more mature.
- They are the oldest in the classroom.
- They perform better academically.
- They have more confidence.
Negatives to a delayed start:
- It can be hard if all your child’s friends start school and he or she is left behind.
- They might get irritated with their younger peers in the class.
- The advantage the child had at the beginning of their school careers will eventually fade when the other kids start catching up.
It can be overwhelming for parents, however, you know your child best. You know what your child is capable of. You have seen your child at their best and at their worst. It is important to trust yourself and your instinct as a parent.
When In Doubt…Give Them An Extra Year Of Play
Dr. Nadia Louw, Educational Psychologist says that when you are in doubt, keep them back.
She says that as parents you might feel like you are giving your child an academic edge, but it can cause untold damage if they are not ready for formal education. “It is like forcing a little fledgling from the nest before its wings are fully developed.”
“The impact on the child’s academic self-concept and ability to learn can be great. So parents have to think carefully when making this decision.” She also says every child is different and it really depends on them.
What did you do? Did you send your kids to school “on the early side” or gave them another year of play? Tell us in the comments below.