Starting kindergarten is one of the biggest milestones in a young child’s life, both for the child and his parents. For kids who have never attended daycare and were not enrolled in preschool, kindergarten can mark the first time he ventures into the world and takes the first steps along a long road towards independence. While most kids start kindergarten at around five years old, there are those who simply aren’t ready to start school when the time rolls around. These are 10 of the most common reasons for delayed kindergarten readiness.
- He Has a Late Birthday – Depending on when your child’s birthday is and where it falls in relation to the cut-off date for kindergarten enrollment in your school district, your child could potentially be one of the youngest members of his class and, as such, not quite ready for the rigors of school. Social readiness is also an important factor in determining kindergarten readiness.
- She Didn’t Go to Preschool – Kindergarten has changed quite dramatically over the years, and is no longer dedicated to singing songs or taking naps. These days letter and color recognition, basic counting and even early mathematics and pre-reading skills are required to be considered ready for kindergarten. If your child didn’t attend preschool, she may not be quite ready for the demanding atmosphere of kindergarten.
- He’s Developmentally Different – Some developmental differences begin to present themselves around the time a child would begin kindergarten, which is one of the reasons why some parents are surprised to find that their little one isn’t quite ready. If you suspect that your child is developmentally different, discussing your concerns with his doctor can help you determine what your next step should be.
- She Was Born Prematurely – Premature babies can lag a bit behind their peers developmentally, even as late as kindergarten. According to a study by the University of Nottingham published in the New England Journal of Medicine, up to 52% of prematurely born children experienced developmental delays at age two, with many prematurity-related problems not showing up until the age of five.
- He Struggles With Behavioral Problems – Kids who have difficulty controlling their behavior may struggle to adhere to the rules of a kindergarten classroom, especially if he has little experience with a classroom setting. Your child’s behavioral differences can affect his kindergarten readiness and may require a bit of special attention.
- She Has a Physical Disability – Public schools are required by Federal law to make allowances for children with special needs, but a physically disabled child may simply not be ready for the relatively demanding schedule of kindergarten when other children her age are starting school.
- He Has Speech Problems – One of the areas in which many kindergarten screening tests look for kindergarten readiness is in regards to verbal skills and speech ability. A child who struggles to speak, isn’t verbal at all or has a severe speech impediment may require a bit of extra time before he starts school with his peers.
- She Isn’t Fully Potty Trained – Legally, public school districts are not allowed to turn away a student based on their lack of potty training. Still, the humiliation that can accompany regular accidents in front of her classmates may keep your child from thriving. If she’s not potty trained and kindergarten enrollment is approaching, you may need to consult with a pediatrician for advice.
- He Can’t Focus On a Given Task – Some kids simply can’t focus on a task they’ve been given. Whether it’s due to attention deficit disorder or developmental differences, a child who isn’t able to focus at all may require special attention in order to thrive in kindergarten.
- She Suffers From Severe Separation Anxiety – Most kids who suffer from separation anxiety during the first few days of kindergarten learn to overcome it. An incapability to shake separation anxiety or severe emotional distress can point to more complicated emotional differences, however, which may need to be evaluated by a medical professional before she attends school.
It’s important to remember that at such a young age, most children are developing at their own pace and may not reach milestones at the same time as their peers. Delayed kindergarten readiness isn’t always an indicator of developmental differences that will set your child apart throughout his academic career. Remember how important it is to be patient with your child and help him reach developmental milestones at his own pace.
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