ADHD Parents Together

Holding back your kindergartener

My 4.5 year old son was recently diagnosed with mild ADHD and struggles with social skills and impulsivity, academically smart. He'll be 5 in June, and I worry he's behind socially and won't do well in kindergarten this Fall. We're looking for help to advance his social skills this Spring/Fall, started fish oil, but wondering if we should delay kindergarten one year so he's not the youngest and most immature in his class?! Any experience with this or advice?

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I would hold him back. As a parent of a July birthday child with ADHD, who is now in middle school. I wish I had held my child back a year to give them more success in school and socially. I wish I had known in hindsight. He'll get more chances at being at peer level if you hold him back a year. Best to you!

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Thanks!

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I agree. I would hold him back. The demands in school are so great nowadays. My son is born in October and is the oldest in his class and still he struggles. I am thankful he is the oldest or he would be so behind. You will be helping him a great deal by keeping him back. Best of luck to you!!!!

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As some of us are finding out as parents with ADHD children, their maturity level is 30% behind other children their age. My 14 y/o son is in the 7th grade. From being held back in kindergarten and a late birthday. I can't imagine him being in 9th grade at his maturity level. His decision making is like a 8 y^o. My 12 y/o is in 5th grade, due to an extta year stay in special needs class and late b'day I always say GOD knows what he is doing.

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Hi- reading your comment it sounds like your situation was similar to what I'm currently dealing with. My son is finishing up kindergarten now - he's 6- and will b 7 in October. The school is recommending retention because is reading skills are below benchmark. We just got a diagnosis of ADHD - although we had assumed for a while. He mostly struggles to read because he can't focus or stay still. Anyway - we r at a very academically rigorous school - and we are trying to determine if retention is best or if we should change schools. My biggest concern with retention is friends, and that he may b bored. He is bright and has done well in most other areas of school. I'd love any advice?

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Mine is 11 and an August b-day. We held her back. I wish I could have held her back two grades, then she'd be more in sync socially. Even though she is one of the oldest 5th graders (not THE oldest), she hangs with a lot of 4th graders. Can't imagine if she was in 6th grade now...it would have been a disaster socially. She is super smart, so it pained me to do it...but looking back: def the right decision. Every kid is different and has varying degrees of social immaturity. I've heard the ADHD child is their actual age - 3 years not medicated. I think this is about right for us. When (if) she has a girl her age come to the house, they seem SO much more mature and emotionally controlled. As a bonus...and we don't get many of those!, if he is athletically inclined, holding him back will help on that front. Good luck!

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I agree I would wait another year. My younger grandson has an August birthday. We went ahead and started him in kindergarten because everyone said he was so smart and so ready. Mentally he really wasn't and has struggled all through school

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My son missed our town’s cutoff by 2 weeks. He’s one of the oldest in his 2nd grade class, but probably has the maturity of kindergartner! Most people who hold their kids back don’t regret their decision. You know your son best. Good luck with your decision.

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My son sounds like your little one except he is and August birhday. We held him back and are so happy with that decision. He has done so well this year ( socially and academically) and we feel that he is now ready to move on to Kindergarten.

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I would hold him back. It's the best thing we ever did for our ADHD son. (He's now a 10 year old 4th grader) The principal said it "gives him the gift of time." Consider that kids with ADHD are THREE TO FIVE years behind their chronological age maturity wise.

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Thanks everyone! I'm trying to use this year to work on his social skills and find him a transitional K program. His current pre-K is a nice church based one but not super structured which I think why he struggles. Any suggestions on other strategies to focus on in his pre-K program to help him in school? Anyone have success with token charts, stretchy bands under the chairs, bouncing balls, stress balls, etc for in school behavior management?

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Now is the time to hold on to him and let him mature a bit so he is closer to maturitybwuth his peers! I would definitely hold him back a year. My son is almost 14 and I wish we would have waited to start him in kindergarten. Now it’s too late for us!

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This is all great advice but I have to admit, I did not hold my August birthday back. My daughter knew everything in preschool and when she took the Kindergarten readiness test she passed it with flying colors. That being said, I did not know at the time that she had ADHD combine type. I was truly frustrated with her Kindergarten teacher, a first year teacher, because it seemed like my daughter didn't learn anything new and the teacher just kept complaining about how she wouldn't stay in her seat. Academically she knew it all but socially and following directions she was so far behind her peers the teacher recommended holding her back. My daughter was already complaining of being bored so my husband and I said "No, send her to first grade". First grade was awful but it made me realize she needed tested and we got the ADHD diagnosis. We started medicine and therapy over the summer and 2nd grade has been like a dream (all A's and B's, the teacher loves her). Yes, she is still socially behind her peers and we're working on those skills with her therapist and girl scouts. I think you know your child best and have to decide what's going to work best for your family. If I had known she had ADHD at the time, I may have chosen differently.

As far as what to work on to get ready for school. Figure out how your son learns best, is it auditory, visual, touch and then let his teacher know so that they have a good way to connect with him. My daughter is an auditory learner, we sing her lessons and make up fun rhymes to remember things. I loved the "Letter factory" video by Leap frog, she learned her letter sounds by watching it three times. We also used number rhymes to remember how to draw each number. As far as the best motivation in school, it has to constantly change. Her teacher has a treasure chest with new prizes that really motivate her. Her favorite is actually a ticket that says she gets to bring in a toy from home for show and tell. For behavior keep it very simple. My daughter has three specific tasks for each day that must be done. She has a chart that says "I completed my math work, I tried all my reading, and I paid attention for word work time". She gets a sticker for each task well done. Having three things helps her know what's important and when to really use her energy to focus. I know she had a good day if she got 3 out of 3.

Every kid is different and each teacher is different. The best thing to do is let the school know right up front that you want to set up a 504 plan and have a teacher that's willing to partner with you and make accommodations. A flexible teacher who's willing to work with you is priceless. Just know that you will try some things and they will work and some things will not work. Give each new strategy a month to see if it really helps or not, than be willing to switch to something new. Most of all, enjoy your time with your son. Love is a powerful force and will make even the hard times bearable. Also, let him pursue the things he loves. In the end the best motivation is self motivation and he'll be able to feel good about himself in at least one area of life. Good luck!

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Same here! My girl has an August birthday, and was the youngest in her kindergarten class last year. And is second youngest this year in first grade.

Emotionally, she falls in between a kindergartner and first grader - not quite as mature as some in her class, but not years behind either. She would have been miserable academically being held back. She has an IQ of 130 and isn't really struggling in school - she's at or slightly above for math, and well above for reading. We suspected last year that she had ADHD, and has been in behavior therapy for a few months now. She was just officially diagnosed with ADHD and just started taking Metadate CD.

As of right now, I wouldn't hold her back or regret not holding her back. But maybe when we get closer to middle school that could change. I'm pretty sure there's a few other kids in her class/grade that also have ADHD - it's almost like the other kids just accept (for now - first graders are probably more forgiving than middle-schoolers) her as she is, and if she's up for playing in a group - if not, no worries.

I think it depends on the child and their circumstances.

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My daughter is a June baby and we tried kindergarten when it was time. She was socially and academically behind. She lasted 6 weeks in kindergarten before I decided to take her out. She hadn’t been diagnosed with adhd and anxiety at the time that came about a year later. She still struggles in 1st grade as a 7 year old but I can’t imagine how hard it would be if she were in 2nd grade. It was a very difficult decision and one I struggled with I see now it was for the best for her.

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Nothing beats a gift of extra time!

Wish I had held mine back, but I didn’t want him to lose the services he was already receiving through the district prior to the start of kindergarten.

As long as that is not a problem for you,I recommend holding him back.

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I actually removed my son from kindergarten and put him in a junior K program because he was having such a hard time behaviorally. He’s done lots better. He is an August birthday, and birthday cutoff is September in our area. I really think we did the best thing for him - just wish we didn’t have to pay for private school to get junior K. :/ He is too advanced academically to spend another year in preschool, so that’s why we went with junior k.

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I agree - definitely hold him back and you may even decide to hold him back another year. My son had an early June birthday and I wish we had held him back. Unless he is a really big kid, it will not be noticeable and will really help in the long run.

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Sarajourn- it would be hard for us to be in your shoes... I am curious what your son is really good at? I will say the other end (being a senior in high school) and being on the older side is not fun..

All of the research on "redshirting" holding a child back say it doesn't make a difference what does is maturity and independence. So I would think about ways to work on those now and if you have everything in place. For us it is good stable medication ( this includes decreasing hyperactivity, medication for focusing) counseling and assistance with his teacher when needed. Then I am not sure holding him back is a good thing. I would also work on giving him indepenced when you can.

Best of luck..

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