Why WE are Repeating VPK (And It’s OK if You Aren’t)


Summer birthdays, I’ve decided, are officially the worst. Sure, my almost 5-year old son, Landon, will still celebrate with his friends this summer with a Ninja-themed birthday party in an air-conditioned facility.  And although his actual birthday is in late July, we’ve officially confused his toddler brother by singing “Happy Birthday” to Landon in his classroom back in early April.

But the worst part of having a child with a summer birthday, to us, has been deciding whether or not to hold back our son or to send him forward to Kindergarten.

For several years, my husband and I had known that we would hold Landon back and have him repeat VPK. We didn’t base our decision on any facts; it just felt right. He would then be the oldest in the class, it would give him a leg-up in maturity, and he also would have a better chance in excelling at sports.

And then a funny thing happened. He actually completed VPK this past spring, and I started to doubt our decision. Thoughts ran through my head like, “Landon has made some great friendships this year; should I separate them?” and “Landon was told he was ready academically and socially to proceed by his preschool staff; shouldn’t I just go with a professional opinion?”

And so, I went from my soapbox of encouraging fellow moms to hold their late-summer children back to announcing publicly that we were going to send him forward.

Immediately after, mom guilt struck me hard. For countless nights, I tossed and turned and after lots of prayers, God ultimately made me realize that it was not the best choice for Landon.

I always came back to one thing — just one, simple thing that held me up from feeling like sending him to Kindergarten was the best choice for us: playing. “He is 5 years old — just let him play,” I would think to myself. He has so many years to be in a strict, organized schooling system with homework and responsibility. So just let the child play.

If you are also undecided about what to do with your child whose birthday is close to the academic cutoff, please know that you are your child’s best advocate. I have regretted suggesting to friends that holding your late-summer-birthday child back is always the right answer because I truly feel it depends on what you feel is best.

And so, next year as his peers from last year head off to Kindergarten in the big elementary school waving to their parents as they walk through those doors, I won’t have any regrets.

For me and my family, time is flying. And if I can just slow down and get more time to play with my son for one more year, that’s what I’m going to do.

Meg is a Jersey native, wife to Logan, her Jacksonville University sweetheart, and stay-at-home mom to two young boys, Landon and Griffin. She has been active in the Jacksonville moms club scene since the birth of her first son. After moving and falling in love with Nocatee, she created The Real Housemoms of Nocatee, a resident moms group with over 1200 members. Meg enjoys working out at Trinity Fitness Ponte Vedra and committing her husband to continuous house projects. After breast cancer touched six women & men in her family as of 2015, Meg decided to stop the cycle by having a preventative double mastectomy. You can follow her prevention journey on her blog at Bravery without BRCA. Beginning in 2017, Meg formed Trekking Twice, a Christian family travel blog documenting the two treks per year that her family embarks on after conducting extensive research on the best trips for families with young kids.


  1. I love your blog. I have 2 children with October birthdays. My son and his sister ended up graduating the same year (they are exactly a year apart in age) When Patrick reached tbe 5th grade he had a very organized teacher who required organization as part of their grade. His skills of organization were behind. What became what she referred to as an easy grade (go to your social studies section of your work binder and go to page 5, give me the answer to #2) was failure to him. He would forget to index his papers and so they were who knows where. I went to the Principal’s office and asked for him to be put back at the Christmas break. The next school we attended in another state encouraged all parents with summer to fall children to hold them back ESPECIALLY BOYS. Girls do much better in elementary school then boys statistically. My daughter never really had a problem. Why not release them out into the world at graduation a little more mature? As a VPK teacher. I tell parents this all the time. Wouldn’t you want them a little bit smarter when they leave the nest, a little wiser because you have more time to prepare them?

    • Thank you for the feedback Colleen! I’m so glad you enjoyed the article and that you feel like repeating will give my son a leg up!

  2. Thank you for sharing your story on this issue! My son’s birthday is early Sept. Although we start school earlier in Florida, a lot of states start after Labor Day. At the time we lived in one of those states. I did as you did – observed. We also had an awesome preschool teacher who sat down with me when I asked her opinion. We both agreed. He continues to do well in school. I never regretted him repeating VPK (or 4-year-old preschool).

  3. My daughter starts kindergarten 1 week after she turns 5. I know in my heart she is not ready. It’s just I do not have the money to keep her in VPK. The state pays for the first year. Her pre-school also says she’s not ready. My husband says she will figure it out. I don’t think she will. I hope I don’t ruin her acidemic life over money.

    • Hey Jessica! I’m so sorry that you are entering this school year with doubts. If it makes you feel any better, several of my friends whose kids so have birthdays right at the cut off are also sending their kids on to K. I’m sure if you work closely with her teacher and just keep loving on her everything will work out just fine. God’s got this!

    • Jessica,
      This is only my opinion…As an educator with two decades experience, kids who start behind tend to stay behind unless they are in a school where core instruction is strong, and they are offering students tiered interventions. Meaning that she gets more small group instruction to remediate her deficits and gets additional time to make up the achievement gap. Kindergarten has a “six mile” difference. Some kids come in at a three year old language development level and some at an eight year old level. The school then has to meet all of their needs.

      My sons both have summer birthdays. I sent the oldest when he turned 5. It took extra instruction from me every night, an exceptional core at school, and tiered intervention at school. He was “caught up” in fourth grade. I didn’t make the same choice with my second son. He started when he was six. I don’t have regrets. I just took two different paths and in the end they both worked but I had to put in the extra work and so did the school.

      Before you make your final choice, you could find out from the school if they will allow her to repeat Kindergarten if she doesn’t master the K standards. Repeating K might be a solution. Also, to make up some ground at home twenty minutes of reading aloud to children every day moves mountains. Kids should be able to recognize their letters, know some of their sounds, and write their name as they enter. Again, this is only my opinion.

  4. Thanks for this! My son is July 14th & he’s so physically mature & ahead of a lot of his classmates, but his speech is a little behind (we go to speech therapy). He knows the letters of his name & can recognize them, & write his name almost unassisted. His teacher loves him & I really respect her opinion. She feels he’s just a little immature-doesn’t want to sit & write etc. circle time gets antsy-says it’s not a condition like ADD or anything just maturity. Yet…I find myself questioning whether to have him repeat 3s again. He’ll be 4 just a month before school begins. The director at our school said kids don’t repeat VPK-only 3s. So I don’t have an option there. I love the friends he’s made & I don’t want him to regress because now he’ll be with younger kids. I’m having anxiety making a choice like this that will affect the rest of his schooling. My husband is a July birthday so he’s not helpful. Just looking for some reassurance & how things are going now with your son?? Thanks! ?


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