Should I consider having my child repeat kindergarten?

Real Mom Problem

“My son completed his first year of kindergarten and is really struggling so we chose for him to repeat kindergarten. At times I wonder if we made the right decision. Is it normal to feel this way? Have others had the same issue?”

by angelroberts angelroberts

Quick Tips

  • 1. Discuss all options with your child's teacher and school administrators before making the decision that's best for your child
  • 2. An additional year of kindergarten may help some children mature, and improve their academic and social skills
  • 3. The National Association of School Psychologists recommends an increase in support before considering retention for kindergarteners falling behind

Real Mom Solutions

Choosing to have your child repeat kindergarten might feel like an overwhelming decision. Let these experienced moms help you feel confident in your choice -- no matter what you decide.

Some Moms Say Better Now Than Later

  • melakay1981

    I would not stress too much. Kindergartners are still so little, and it is better for it to happen now than when he is in say fourth grade.

  • mom23musketeerz

    Some kids just don't "get it" as quickly as others. And that's okay. I say, better he's held now than in the later school years, because at this point of his development, it won't hurt his self-esteem so much. I worked with a kid last year who had some comprehension issues. He was held back and repeated kindergarten this year. And honestly, I think it did him a world of good. Now he WILL be able to move on to first grade.

  • all4Him999

    My friend is a kindergarten teacher and she says if a kid has to be held back it's better to do it in kindergarten or first grade because it doesn't really matter much to the kid then. But after second grade it's more traumatic because they "get it" and they have closer friendships in second grade, so not being in the same class is hurtful. Your child will benefit from an extra year of kindergarten and when he's not struggling in later grades you will know this was the best choice. Be happy and fine with it and your child will be too.

  • bellawomen

    This is a good age to hold them back. Remember, this is only to help him better prepare for being a first grader. It's not that he isn't smart enough or doesn't have the ability to learn, but his maturity could prevent him from focusing. Take this as a second chance to make sure he succeeds.

  • Mom2Just1

    It is better that he is retained now than later. First grade will be so much harder if he has not mastered all skills in kindergarten.

Others Encourage - Don't Blame Yourself

  • Tesserae

    I sure didn't blame myself when my now 10-year-old repeated grade K. He just wasn't ready and I don't believe in pushing kids.

  • Maisy08

    Hey you know what, I have a five-year-old and I held her back. No worries. Kindergarten is practice. It has nothing to do with you as a parent. I'm sure he will be great next year.

  • mummy1990

    He's lucky to have a good mommy. Don't be hard on yourself. Look at it this way; he'll be better prepared for the first grade and have a good start.

  • momma0ffive

    We had to move my son from second to first. I felt terrible, but it was the best decision I have ever made for him. It has helped him sooooo much. You think of it as a failure but really you are doing more for him than you could ever imagine.

  • Karinmaximom

    You are not to blame - he just needs extra time to mature.

  • trebelcleff

    You aren't a failure. Some kids just need that extra time to grow, and mature, and learn to focus. It's nothing you did or didn't do; it's just the way things turned out. He will do better in the long run if he gets that extra year to continue developing the skills he needs, especially social ones. You can work with him academically at home too which can keep him caught up, or excel him into the next grade after his other skills improve. Don't feel bad!

You Know Your Kid Best Say These Moms

  • Whirlagigsmom

    You know your child better than anyone else. Do what you know is the best for him. Repeating kindergarten is not the worst thing in the world. I know. My son just repeated it and is finally getting a grasp of things he needs to have before he faces more challenges in first grade. Thanks for being his advocate, and not simply going with the flow. I'm positive he will do just fine.

  • michellec814

    That's a tough decision! We had our daughter repeat kindergarten a few years ago. She was a young kindergartner (July), and tiny for her age, and very shy. She struggled academically as well. Let me tell you that holding her back was the hardest decision I've had to make. I cried at the kindergarten graduation because I knew she wasn't REALLY graduating. I cried the next year at open house because it REALLY wasn't her first year in school. It was hard. She is now eight and in second grade. She is doing much better academically AND socially. She isn't as shy anymore either. So, what should YOU do? That's a tough decision. He may get bored next year. Is he looking forward to first grade? Does he have any close friends in class? Those are all factors too. With my daughter, she didn't have any friends, and she was petrified of first grade. So, we knew it wouldn't be really hard on her to repeat kindergarten. Also, have you talked to your son's teacher to see what he/she thinks? I had to meet with my daughters teacher AND the principal to discuss it AND I had to write a letter explaining my reasons for having her repeat kindergarten. In my experience, most schools and teachers will NOT let you hold your child back without a fight. Whatever you decide...I hope it's the right decision.

  • mom2twingirls02

    My girls are the youngest in their class. They have done amazing, but this is also their third year of school because we did preschool and pre-k. I think that you have to trust your feelings. It depends on the kid and you know him better than anyone. Also, talk to the teacher because she sees him during the day and how he interacts there. It might be different than you think.

These Moms Agree That Repeating can Be Helpful

  • MommaNoonoo

    As a first grade teacher, this is for the best. If he isn't ready, you want him to have the opportunity to master kindergarten skills before first grade.

  • KrisC

    My oldest and dearest friends just went through the same thing a few years ago. Their son did pretty well academically (not at the top of the class, but far from the lowest), but he was socially behind. He's in third grade and doing very well now. Apparently in doing their research, they found that boys in particular sometimes do better when they repeat kindergarten and move up when they're a little older. Whatever you's okay. It's so much more common to find kids of different ages and learning levels in every grade now. Go with your gut and best of luck to you!

  • diamondsetter

    I think it's better for the kid to be held back than it is to be passed on when they aren't ready for it. Failing him would be forcing him to move on to what he is not ready for. It'll be better for him this way on more than one level.

  • andreamarie

    I wish my daughter had been held back. She was promoted and in no way ready for first grade. Now she will repeat a grade anyway.

  • Aloysious

    One day, when he's a super mega billionaire leader of the free world, you will look back at this and laugh. Sometimes, they just need a little more time to bloom.

  • NDADanceMom

    My son was held back in kindergarten. He is now in the gifted program. He wasn't developmentally ready. Has nothing to do with how smart he is or how good of a mom you are.

  • KrissyKC

    There are a lot of parents these days that are making the choice to hold their kids back in pre-k an extra year just because of the academics needed for kindergarten. I wouldn't worry so much, it will do him good in the long run to take care of it now and slow down to his pace rather than get a bad taste in his mouth for school.