My 5-year-old twins are ready academically, but I'm not sure if they're mature enough for kindergarten. How can I make this choice?

This is a great question! As a kindergarten teacher, the question I hear most frequently is, “Do you think my child is ready for kindergarten?” There are so many things to consider. From academic readiness to social-emotional readiness, there seem to be more questions than answers. My first step is usually turning the tables and asking the parents a few questions. In your case, my questions would be in the area of social-emotional development:

Can they handle separation? Can they manage their feelings and impulses? Do they have self-care skills, such as using the bathroom on their own or putting on their own coat? Do they have experience following rules of other adults? Are they self-confident? Do your children participate in small group play in a positive way? Do they develop friendships? Have they been to Pre-K?

You don’t have to answer yes to all of these questions to be able to confidently send your kids off to kindergarten in the fall, but they are certainly things to consider. If you’re on the fence in your answers to several questions, I would certainly go with your gut and wait another year.

It’s also important to think about your kids’ interactions with other adults. If they have been to Pre-K, public library programs, or church classes, think about how your children act. For example, if you notice your twins tendency to whininess, but their other teachers haven’t mentioned it, the whininess may just be for your benefit! Often times, at parent-teacher conference time, I will tell parents how delightful their child is in class and their reaction is, “Are you sure you’re thinking of the right kid?” Most kids are able to hold it together in the classroom and save their whininess for the comfort of home!

Good luck with your decision!

Becca Ross

Kindergarten & First Grade Teacher

Becca is a schoolteacher and blogs at She loves to cook, bake, garden, sew, quilt, teach and simply spend time with her family. She strives to find art in everyday things.