Is Your Child Ready To Start Kindergarten This Fall? 3 Questions You May Not Have Asked

Posted on: 12 July 2022

Should your child start kindergarten in the fall? You thought your five-year-old was ready. But now you aren't sure about this decision. It's completely normal, and even expected, for parents to have concerns about a new five-year-old starting school. If you're not sure about your kindergarten enrollment decision, take a look at the questions to ask before the start of the school year.

Do You Feel Pressure To Redshirt Them?

The term redshirt refers to delaying the start of school for a child who is possibly ready but also possibly not ready. Research published in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis found that parents delay the start of school for approximately 4–5% of would-be kindergartners. 

Even though this statistic may not seem high, you might feel like everyone around you plans to redshirt their young five-year-olds. It's hard not to listen to your parent friends, family members, neighbors, co-workers, or anyone else who claims that redshirting is the best and only option.

While redshirting is the best choice for some children, it isn't right for everyone. Before you decide to enroll your child in school or hold them back for one year, think about your five-year-old as an individual, consider their needs, and ignore the pressure to redshirt based on chronological age alone.

Are You Only Taking Your Child's Current Development Into Consideration?

Kindergarten is a time when young children build a foundation for the rest of their education. Without a national requirement to attend preschool, this is often the first experience a child has with school or a formal learning environment. 

As your child progresses through their first year in school, they'll develop new skills. It's likely you will see a noticeable change in your child's behavior and abilities (including academic, social, emotional, and motor/physical) between the start and end of the school year. 

You will need to evaluate your child's current development right now before you decide to start them in school or wait until the next academic year. But you also need to consider emerging skills and how the first months of elementary school will affect their overall development. 

How Does Your Child Handle Self-Care Tasks?

It's common for parents to focus on their child's academic or cognitive skills when they decide to redshirt (or not). But these aren't the only important abilities. Your child will need the ability to navigate the restroom, dress themselves, feed themselves, wash their hands, and understand other basic self-care tasks.