My daughter is in Kindergarten and a paper went home this week about the 2019-2020 Kindergarten Round-Up coming up. My daughter has an August birthday right on the line and a couple years ago I was struggling with whether I wanted to put her in early (she had just turned five so she'd be the youngest kid in her class) or wait and put her in when she turned six (and she'd be one of the oldest in her class).

I went back and forth on the decision. I heard some parents say that they were opting to do two years of Kindergarten. Some were holding off a year. One friend of mine, who was running for a high-ranking political office, told me she started Kindergarten at four and she turned out great. If I kept her in preschool/daycare, did I want to pay the extra $600 a month? Well, no. UG. What to do?

After many tears and prayers, tears and prayers, tears and prayers it was the advice from her former preschool teacher that sealed the deal for me. She told me, "Academically, she'd do fine. But, do you want an extra year home with you or not?" Meaning, when she graduates high school and goes out into the world, do I want another year of recitals, family dinners, a messy house, hugs and kisses? Yes, I very much do.

So, we waited and guess what. It was the best decision I ever made and the best $7,000 investment of my life. And, it wasn't just because of the extra year. Kindergarten isn't what it was when I was in school. We played with blocks and toys, read books, and painted. My daughter is doing in Kindergarten what I did in second grade. I was listening to her practicing math on the computer and the word problems sounded a lot like ALGEBRA to me. Okay, it's Kindergarten and I am officially tapped out. But, with the help of her amazing teacher and support staff at school, she has grown and changed so much. She read all of Hop on Pop to me last night without becoming distracted. Am I proud? Over the moon! Am I a little sad that she's growing up so quickly? Absolutely.

The point is, she was allowed to have another year of playtime; another year of toys; another year of not riding the bus with older kids... another year of childhood. And, I don't think she would have been as advanced, confident, or progressed as much as she has this year if she had gone last year and just had that extra year of playtime.

Of course, each child is different and parents know their own kids better than anyone else. You do whatever is right for your family but waiting was the best decision we could have made for our daughter because in my opinion, childhood is priceless.

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