Most of us grew up with a very negative idea about repeating a grade in school: Being held back a year was for troublemakers who just didn’t want to do the work, or kids who simply were not very bright. Luckily, today those stereotypes are fading, as people realize that being held back a year is just one more tool in an educator’s toolkit when it comes to helping a child be successful at school. So if your child will need to repeat kindergarten, here are some tips to make it a positive experience for everyone, including a wonderful new resource to help children and parents with this significant transition.
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
When Your Child Has to Repeat Kindergarten
When a parent hears her child’s teacher recommend that her son or daughter repeat kindergarten, the initial reaction may be of disappointment, but it can actually be a positive experience for the family.
While being held back a year should not substitute for providing interventions and support early on in kindergarten, it some cases it may be beneficial for the child. Here are some tips to help when your child has to repeat kindergarten:
1. Switch Teachers
If a child does have to repeat kindergarten, it is usually better for them to switch teachers. This will make sure the year isn’t simply a repeat of the same material, plus it will provide them with additional opportunities for growth and support. One long-time teacher’s aide told me that because of this practice, many of the kids who were held back were only vaguely aware that they were repeating the grade. After all, it was a new class and new teacher for them!
2. Keep a Positive Attitude
Children look to trusted adults to know how to react to new situations. If you keep a positive attitude, this will go a long way to helping your child feel the same way.
3. Work with the School
Find out exactly why your child is being held back and what you can do to support her growth in those areas the second time around. Your school may be able to recommend additional resources for you.
4. Explain to Your Child
It is important that your child understand why they are being held back – and that it isn’t a negative reflection on them! One great new tool that you can use for this is the wonderful new book from Rebecca Eisenberg, a certified speech language pathologist, author, instructor, and mother of two.
My Second Year of Kindergarten is a wonderful way to help children understand in a positive way why they have to repeat kindergarten and what they have to gain from it. The language is simple, and the book gives concrete examples of this year vs. last year. For instance, last year I needed a lot of help, and this year I can be the teacher’s helper! Children can easily relate to the child in the story and feel confident of what they will gain out of some extra time in kindergarten.
But my favorite part is the section at the back for parents, which has great tips and specific actions you can take to help your child succeed in their second year of kindergarten. Go to the book’s website for even more resources.
And be sure to check out Eisenberg’s other new release, A Tale of the Monkey Balloon, written with Mindy Winebrenner. It is a follow up to their picture book The Monkey Balloon. In their sequel, Eisenberg and Winebrenner spin a sweet story about a girl who is so excited about her monkey balloon that she dreams of it at night. I love how Eisenberg weaves popular fairy tales into her story, as the girl imagines her lost monkey balloon eating porridge at the Three Bears’ home and hiding from the Big Bad Wolf. There is a happy ending, of course, when she realizes it was all just a dream and her balloon wasn’t lost after all! Includes evidenced-based tips for reading the book aloud with children.