A few general guidelines:
The National PTA suggests considering five questions for kindergarten readiness.
- How mature is your child?
- What does the pediatrician or preschool teacher say?
- Are they motivated to learn?
- Are they big or small for their age?
- What do other families in your community do?
I tend to add:
- Is there a delay or disorder that may be benefitted from time?
- Do you have the sense they may end up repeating a later grade?
None of these questions should be considered alone. Look at the whole child and daily functioning. If you are deciding to wait a year, plan for making the most of that time.
Things to incorporate the year before Kindergarten (if not ready):
- Remember that reading aloud to children is cited as the single most important factor in making successful readers.
- Build social skills and give opportunities for repeated play with the same children.
- More downtime, less screentime. Learn the guidelines given by the American Academy of Pediatrics or by Zero to Three about screentime and decide for your family some healthy boundaries. Give children time to learn to entertain themselves.
- Build challenges in play. Challenge them to build taller with blocks, complete puzzles faster and to tackle tasks together.
- Build attention span. Read increasingly longer stories and play increasingly harder games and more difficult puzzles.