Mom writes the book on repeating a grade to help other parents

Do you have a child that repeated a grade? Are you thinking about having your child repeat a grade? This topic comes up often in the public-school system, specifically around this time of the year, when plans are being made for the following year. When I had to consider this question for my son, the lack of information and help on the subject astounded me. So, I wrote it myself with my book “My Second Year of Kindergarten.”

I went through this process with my son about three years ago. When his teachers recommended he repeat kindergarten, my husband and I felt mixed about it. From one perspective, I felt that giving him an extra year, given his age and delays, would be an optimal opportunity. On the other hand, what would this do for my son socially? How would he feel about repeating a grade?

After searching online for research and resources about repeating a grade — specifically kindergarten — I came up with very little valuable information. As a speech-language pathologist, my instinct is to find research and evidence to make informed decisions, but with this topic, there was little research available. In spite of this, my mother’s gut was telling me that my son repeating kindergarten was the right thing for him. The one thing I have learned as a parent is that I need to listen to my instinct about what is right for my child. This instinct, along with support from my son’s educators, is ultimately what helped my husband and I make the decision.

Once we decided our son would repeat the grade, we collaborated with his team at school and spoke to the principal. The decision just felt right for me. However, this was just the beginning, because we then had to tell our son and go through the process of the transition. As a parent and children’s book reviewer, I find that books tend to help my children and I discuss more difficult topics. But again, I found no books about repeating a grade. So I decided to write “My Second Year of Kindergarten.” Reading the draft to my son helped him understand the reasons why he was staying in kindergarten and the progress he could look forward to making the following year. My husband and I took the time to tell him about this process in a simple, straightforward, and honest manner with little complex language. We also presented the information in a positive way and left the discussion open ended. The topic of repeating kindergarten is not a one-time conversation, it’s a dialogue that occurs over time.

Once I saw how this story helped my son, I published it so other parents and educators could benefit as well. Since the April release, I have heard from many parents about how much they value a book like this because of the lack of available resources on this topic. I also wanted to make this process a positive experience that could help other children develop a more flexible mindset about children with varying delays and disabilities.

Would you like to learn more? I discussed this topic with Penny Williams from Parenting ADHD and Autism at http://parentingadhdandautism.com/2018/04/05/pap-036-repeating-grade-school-becca-eisenberg. You can also check out my website, www.mysecondyearofkindergarten.com.

Rebecca Eisenberg is a speech-language pathologist, instructor, parent of two children, and author of several games for children with special needs, a story time workbook, and the children’s books “The Monkey Balloon,” “A Tale of The Monkey Balloon,” and “My Second Year of Kindergarten.”