Parents feel there might be a problem with student being the youngest in her class in school. How to reassure them as well as building confidence for student, without her feeling the pressure to ‘match up’ to the older kids
This is a common question and stems from ‘entering early or holding out’ of kindergarten. Due to cut offs, there is always going to be a student who is young for their grade, and one who is older. When you’re dealing with the student who is youngest in the class, you have to remember the parents will consider a few things about this. For example, parents might question if it will affect grades, attention, productivity, social networking and how mature they might be.
Some parents feel that pushing their child into schooling early will leave them at an academic disadvantage. This isn’t necessarily true. There has been specific research on the matter and the results are quite mixed. This shows that it does not necessarily make a difference to results if their child is older or younger than the average student in their class.
A reason why parents feel the student might be at a disadvantage could be due to maturity of their own child comparative to others in the class:
- Explain that maturity isn’t always linked purely to age, and as such, results from students is not based on age
- A younger student is receiving just as much education as the other students in the class who are several months older than them (Which is why the research on when to enter children to school was inconclusive – due to the small age difference becoming irrelevant over time)
- Students can learn good discipline and study habits at an age slightly younger than their peers and still benefit greatly from it
Parents might feel that by having a younger student, this can lead to an academic disadvantage and the student might lack confidence because of this:
- Don’t allow age to become an excuse for the student – or you’ll find the student is using “age excuse” with reasons about why they didn’t do very well on an exam for instance. Make sure the parents are aware of this point and don’t make the student’s confidence even weaker by supporting that excuse
- Explain to the student that they’re doing a great job keeping up with everyone in the class who is a little ahead of them, and help to motivate them to put some good work in to try and succeed (everyone loves the idea of playing up the underdog, so try and make this a positive viewpoint for parent and student)