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Our 6-year-old is young for a first grader with a late summer birthday. He also is a bit of a class clown and possibly has ADD as he has trouble focusing on his school work. He is a kind boy with many friends but is starting to fall behind his peers even though he does practice reading and worksheets at home to try and stay on track.
We are thinking of having him repeat first grade to have the advantage of being one of the oldest kids instead of the youngest and possibly least mature.
Will holding him back in school cause significant emotional harm? It is such a hard decision!
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As someone who regularly evaluates kids for school readiness and to check for potential barriers to future learning success, I can understand your concerns. As parents, we often worry about how staying back might affect our kids emotionally. In my experience , although it can be a little upsetting to stay behind while your peers progress, this distress is far less than that of a child who is not emotionally or cognitively ready for school who then struggles academically for their whole school career.
The best gift we can give our kids who are not quite ready for the next grade is the gift of time. Not all kids develop at the same rate, and sometimes all kids need is a few extra months for their brains to mature just that little bit more. This cognitive development will help your son master the things he struggles with now, such as sitting still and focussing.
In many cases, when given a little extra time, children have the opportunity to develop the competencies and skills to become confident and self-aware students. A qualified professional will be able to assess your son and advise whether this course of action will be in his best interest.
Yes, this is a really hard one. Having worked in schools a long time, concerns from the school with holding children back a grade are usually about the social impacts rather than emotional. School will likely suggest that your child stay with his peer cohort despite his maturity because staying behind can impact self-esteem and children's view of themselves in relation to their peers when they are kept back and their peers have moved 'up' a grade. A lot of current research now is also suggesting that repeating grades rarely results in academic catching up either.
But of course, repeating a year can work for some children based on individual circumstances, Definately have a chat with your school and see what their take is for your child to help make your decision.
That is tough. I know how my son would have felt if he was left behind while his classmates moved up a grade. I would say that you should get some advice from the school. Maybe talk to his teacher and the principal, and maybe have him evaluated by a professional. That way, if they recommend you hold him back, as hard as it might be, you will have the backing of some authority figures and you won't have to feel guilty for making the decision on your own. What also might happen is they might tell you that it would be more beneficial to keep him on track. Ultimately though, if it has to be done, the older he gets, the harder it's going to be. I'm sure this is not any new information but I thought I'd weight in. Good luck!