Today I wanted to bring something up that has kind of been on my mind, but not too much. Mostly, I forget about it until another mother brings it up in a conversation but I do think that it’s worth talking about. What do we do about putting our kids in school when they have an August birthday?? Sasha, my oldest, is 4 and has an August birthday, so what did we decide for him?
Here are some deciding factors (for a lot of parents) that I hear most often:
- Youngest = Shyness?? Or does it? I think that this really just depends on your kid, as will all of the points made. It’s so common for me to hear moms feel like their kids are not “leaders” in a group of older kids. Especially when it’s a boy. Not my kid though. He LOVES being around older kids. That is where he thrives, so I haven’t been nervous about putting him in kindergarten as one of the youngest.
- Missing out on the dating scene. This is most likely just a Mormon issue because our leaders suggest that youth don’t start dating until age 16. That just means some kids with summer birthdays won’t date/go to dances until 11th grade. I experienced this because my birthday is in July, but really, I didn’t care much. Maybe I’m just weird, but I don’t think this should be a strong deciding factor. High School is important, but small, and I’m hoping to help my kids realize the life is much bigger than that.
- Boys are slower at maturing/learning. I get really confused by this. As a girl I want to be flattered, but I feel this is an inaccurate stigma and not fact. I can’t admit to being more mature or smarter than my male peers. Everyone is mature/immature in their own unique ways. I’m not into limiting a person based on their gender. Sasha shows a big interest in learning and I really don’t think that making him wait another year to start kindergarten will make him “smarter’.
- Graduating at age 17 or 18? Again, to some parents this could be a big deciding factor depending on plans for their kids after graduating. To me, I don’t feel like it makes a big difference. I turned 18 about two months after graduating and I don’t feel like it has affected my life for better or worse.
While I do try to plan for the future and keep a big perspective, ultimately my decision comes down to how I feel NOW. We all have to decide what is best for our children. Is Sasha ready right now? If you would have asked me a year ago, my answer would have been “no”. Sasha was unsocial, struggling with emotions, and couldn’t focus his attention on anything. Basically, he was still too young.
Today though, my answer is a big fat “yes”. Preschool last year and this year have helped Sasha open up, socialize, and focus. Plus, the older he gets, the more he is excited to learn. Each kid is going to have different strengths and timelines. Although he may not be the best at coloring, he’s already reading 3-letter words. I feel confident about putting him in Kindergarten next Fall and will do my best to help him thrive as one of the “younger ones”.
Have you had to make this decision? What were/are some of your deciding factors? I’d love to know!