Should I Hold My Child Back?

Dear Teacher

My daughter is 6 and attends second grade. She cries because she can’t keep up with her classmates. Is this reason enough to hold her back next year?

We rarely favor retention, as it does not help most students. Instead, we like to see interventions done as early as possible to bring a child up to grade level. Meet with your child’s teacher immediately to get the teacher’s perspective on your child’s ability to handle the work.

Find out what the school can do to get your child on track. See if tutoring would help. Seek out opportunities for more help this summer via summer school, college remedial programs, learning centers, etc. Learn what you can do to improve your child’s skills.

Your daughter would appear to be young for a second-grader. On the positive side, young children change fast. Your daughter may suddenly catch up with some help.

Parents do need to think long and hard about enrolling very young children in kindergarten who just make the cut-off date. This decision becomes very important later on if the young child encounters a lot of difficulty in the early grades and retention is considered. Retention is almost always a traumatic event for children — on a par with losing a parent.




What Are Your Media Rules?

My husband and I feel we should limit the amount of time our middle-schoolers watch television and use electronics. How do we go about this without seeming mean?

It’s very popular for parents to express concern about the time children spend using media. However, not many make a serious effort to curb it. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that 8- to 18-year-olds spent more than one-fourth of each day (4 hours) using entertainment media. According to this study, most time is spent viewing TV. Many children also media multitask, using the computer and listening to music while watching TV and texting. It makes you wonder when children have time for other activities.

The Kaiser study also points out that media use has really increased in the past five years, due to the easy access children now have to mobile devices such as cell phones and tablet computers. Look at the people on cell phones today; it’s not just teens anymore, many young children also use them. In fact, 20 percent of all third-graders now have cell phones. By middle school, 83 percent will have cell phones. A considerable percentage even use cell phones during class.

You as a parent can have impact how much time your children spend on media entertainment. About one in three parents have established rules. Setting rules can reduce heavy media at home.
Here are some popular rules:

• No media of any type at meal times or during family activities.

• No TV in children’s bedrooms.

• Keep children’s iPods, iPads and cell phones in central location during homework time.

•  Limit computer and video-game time to one hour on school nights.

•  Turn off all media at established time each evening.


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