My Child Wasn’t Ready For Kindergarten {And I Sent Him Anyway}

My 5-year-old little boy has the ever dreaded summer birthday.  He’s sandwiched smack dab in between the ages of “send on to kindergarten” and “do not pass go for another year”.

Being the over worrier that I am, I read article after article about this new fangled thing called “kindergarten readiness”.  I checked the lists and, honestly, my son had mastered less than half of the recommended skill sets. 

He couldn’t tie his shoes. (ahem – still can’t)

He knew seven letters. On a good day. 

He was too shy to be able to tell an applicable story at circle time. 

The list went on and on.

I was very apprehensive – read here TERRIFIED – to send my fresh faced little 5-year-old to kindergarten.  I just knew that he needed another round of  Pre-K.   I was reluctant to send him on through to the next grade when there were so many areas that he needed to mature and grow in.

However, his Pre-K teacher seemed confident that he would thrive in kindergarten.  She had full faith that he would master the kindergarten skills with no problem.  The principal also thought that kindergarten would be the appropriate grade for him the following year.

So we sent him.

And he flourished.

I would be lying if I said the first week of kindergarten wasn’t rocky.  He was not having it, and he was mad.  However, he quickly adjusted.  He started to adore his amazingly kind and patient teacher.  As the weeks passed, I watched in awe as he quickly gained confidence in himself.  

The Pre-K skills that he had yet to ace were quickly conquered.  He mastered his ABC’s and numbers.  Three months into his kindergarten year he could READ.  He then went on to be able to write sentences and comprehend simple addition. 

Mind. Blown.

Despite the fact that my son had very few skills mastered on those checklists that I had read plastered all over the internet, my young little 5-year-old excelled in kindergarten.

My son holding his “Ready Confetti” the day before he started kindergarten.

I know all children are different.  Just because my child didn’t seem ready and did fine in kindergarten does not mean all children will. I’m not suggesting that all children who aren’t prepared should be pushed on through. However, I believe without a shadow of a doubt that in my son’s particular case sending him to the next grade was the best thing I could have done.

I am so grateful that I listened to my son’s Pre-K teacher from the year before who said that he would do fine.  I fully believe that if I had gone off of some online kindergarten skill checklist and gave into my fears, I would have held my child back from blossoming.  If I had made him wait another year before jumping into kindergarten, I would have stifled his growth and he wouldn’t have been challenged to reach his full potential. 

My fellow mommas, I know kindergarten readiness is such a hot topic.  I know there is so much conflicting information on the subject, and the choice can seem daunting and life altering.  However, as we all start thinking about enrolling our kids for the next year, have confidence in the fact that your child will excel no matter what decision you end up making.

Previous articleTravel Oklahoma For Free: 35 Books From & About Our Great State
Next articleOKC Spring Break Guide {2017}
I grew up in sunny California and moved to Oklahoma to attend college. That is where I met my amazing husband, and now we are here to stay! I live in Blanchard with my husband and three kiddos. We also have two standard poodles who we all adore and consider a part of our family! My family likes to stay busy, and we are always on the go exploring Norman and OKC. I love to write, and I document my adventures on this crazy journey of motherhood on my personal blog!


  1. I think for a lot of summer birthday kids, it’s more about SOCIAL and EMOTIONAL skills rather than academic skills. If your kid cannot wait his or her turn, sit still for a length of time (fidgeting is ok), have the ability to use words to ask for help instead of hitting/biting/kicking, join in play with other children and so forth, then it might be wise to hold off another year.
    Also, a lot of boys are “red shirted”, which means that they are held back until they are nearly 6 or are already 6 when entering kindergarten by their parents choice, because of where they are socially and emotionally.
    Kindergarten used to be half days where kids would learn how to wait in line at the water fountain, or learn how to sing their ABCs. Now it’s typically a full day program that requires a lot of sitting and paying attention, and an expectation that they already know how to wait in line to use the water fountain, and read and write.
    I also have a child with a mid summer birthday. And though he is bright, looking back, we often wonder if we made the right decision to move ahead instead of waiting. First grade is going better, but man, Kindergarten was HARD.

  2. Totally agree with Audrey. It is so much more about social skills and not about academic skills. Ask any kindergarten teacher if they would rather have a child to behind academically or socially, guarantee they all would say academically. I really wish more preschools focused on social issues rather than pushing academics so much. My son is above average for his age in academics, we’ve had him tested, but we are holding him back (Late summer birthday) because he is socially behind. Also listen to your child’s pre-k teacher, they see your child in a classroom setting everyday and can probably give you an honest opinion.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here