My daughter just turned 7 June 30th. She's been diagnosed with a growth delay. She's very small for her age and looks about 2 yrs younger than her peers. She struggled academically for the first few months of first grade. She'd cry every night for two months. Her hands are tiny so holding a pencil was difficult and her handwriting was large and messy as were her numbers. She eventually caught up and she finished the year with good grades.
My daughter is very bright but a little immature due to her size. Also kids always teased her because of it. She worked hard in first grade and her teachers were proud of her progress. During the year she was part of a small group that needed extra help with reading. At the end of the year, the teachers recommended her promotion to 2nd grade. I feel that retaining her in first grade would be beneficial and give her confidence. I would like an expert opinion..I'm agonizing over this decision.. Thank you
From: Leena, Virginia Beach, VA
I'm big on trusting teachers' instincts on this kind of issue and everyone deserves a pat on the back for her progress and her hard work. But have you also talked to second and third and fourth grade teachers? They can offer an important perspective on the social aspects of being small, being teased, feeling pressure just to keep up. I know it's summer but I bet your principal will offer some insight as well, and would put you in touch with a teacher or two.
If she's a kid with tough skin, if the teasing rolls off her back, sure, I'd say push ahead. If not -- and you know her tendencies better than anyone -- I'd hold back.
She is always going to be physically small, yes? That's nothing to be ashamed of, but you're already seeing how this affects her. And what about down the road? By putting her ahead, she will not always be the smallest kid, she will also likely be among the last to go through puberty. That puts a lot of pressure on a kid, socially and psychologically. And what about athletically? Will she ever be on an even playing field with her age-mates? Academics are important, but they are not the only issue to consider.
Why does she need that added aggravation? It's not just her size that I'm thinking of, either. I can't think of any reason why she doesn't deserve the opportunity to have a chance to catch her breath and smell the roses and not always be worried about her back.
I took my own advice, by the way. When my son was entering K, he was physically small, and (as a result?) somewhat timid. He also had a late birthday. We decided to buy him that extra year. We never regretted the decision.
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