Is my Big Girl ready to start school?

Is my big girl ready to start school? Well it’s decision time soon in our house and I’m sure for many of you too.

When it comes to the parenting decisions we’ve had to make so far, I have to say that this is the most difficult. With everything else, I’ve always been able to trust my gut.

This time, my gut just can’t seem to make up it’s mind. Or my heart. Or my head.

We’re definitely leaning towards her being ready but I do have moments of worrying that she might not be.

Is my Big Girl ready to start school? Love from Mim How to know if your child is ready to start school

Miss is a March baby you see, she’ll be one of the youngest. She might actually be the youngest – by a long way.

In the UK, where I’m from, there is no choice. If your child’s birthday falls between a set of dates, they go. You can’t ‘hold them back’ or ‘send them early’ – they just go when it’s time. You never have to ask yourself is my child ready for school. No choice either way.

Which means whether they’re ready or not, they’re going. It also means they’re with a bunch of other kids who might, or might not be, ready. So it’s kind of balanced.

But what if my child isn’t ready to start school yet?

What if we send her and it doesn’t work out? We would have lost her day care space and put her (and us) through unnecessary emotional upheaval.

And what if she is the youngest in the class? It doesn’t matter so much now but what about when she’s 15, 17 and 20 years old? Will she be envious that her 16, 18 and 21 year old friends are able to do more than she can, possibly for some time?

I mean, some will be a year older than her.

And are we depriving her of another year of ‘play’?

Does it even matter?

I can’t put myself in her shoes because I was one of the oldest in my year. I got to do everything first.

Emotionally and intellectually, we know she is ready. We don’t doubt that for a second and she’s been wanting to start school since she was two years old and watched that episode of Topsy and Tim when they went to big school.

She stares longingly into school playgrounds that we walk past and looks on in awe when a child in a uniform passes by.

She wants to go, desperately. We looked around her potential new school recently and she hasn’t stopped talking about it since.

Miss has been in the final class at day care for this year and is thriving. Her teachers commend her and tell us that she is ready to go to school.

We just do not want to regret our decision

And this is what it comes down to. What is we send her and regret it? What if we hold her back and regret it?

Perhaps the reason my gut instinct is failing me is that it doesn’t have a chance. There’s a lot riding on this decision and I have little experience to base it on.

For now, we are trusting what she wants, what the school advice and what our day care advises.

Of course there is a lot of time between now and February, when she would start school. We still have time before we have to commit to our final decision.

Parenting – it doesn’t get any easier, does it?

More about Australian schooling here.

Read next:


Is my Big Girl ready to start school? Love from Mim How to know if your child is ready to start school #startingschool #school #preschool

How do you know if your child is ready to start school?


I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Please feel free to comment below, I love hearing from you :)

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  1. Louise
    / 12:29 am

    Hi Mim,
    These decisions are so challenging. For the sake of transparency – I am a believer in sending children off later.
    If you do delay school for another year, remember you can always do other stuff ie; gymnastics, playgroup, library story times etc. Your daughter’s perception of school will possibly not be as accurate. She might not realise how long the day is or that she will have to go day after day or even the structure may be less appealing once she is actually there. As adults we can see theses things a little clearer. I suppose I mention this as you talk of her wanting to go to school. It’s great that she is keen yet she possibly doesn’t have a real perception of what school actually entails.
    There have been many, many studies done on the topic of school starting age.
    Ultimately it is your choice and only you really know your child.
    Things will always work out as they should.
    Huge love and peace with your decision.

    • Mim
      / 10:00 am

      Thank you so so much Louise for your advice, this is so helpful :) I love your idea of getting her involved in other activities too x

  2. Loz Jordan
    / 7:37 pm

    My eldest turns 5 early next Feb. We are sending her to school. She seems ready, and no one at preschool or daycare has any reservations for sending her (I have asked). My concerns go both ways:
    Send early- am I rushing her, not giving her the extra year of play based learning? (I am a teacher and I think it’s ridiculous how much they are expected to learn from early on!).
    Hold her back- she’ll be bored at home and drive us both crazy; she’d turn 18 at the beginning of year12 and lose interest in completing hsc (as I know I did, my birthday wasn’t until July).
    I figure, at worst, if we send her and she really struggles she can repeat. Best case scenario, she does well and she’s finished school by 18, giving her an extra year to play around with before deciding if she wants to do further study. If only there was a crystal ball to guide us!!

    • Mim
      / 9:00 am

      Thank you! And yes if only there was a crystal ball :) it’s impossible for us to know what the ‘right’ decision is at this stage sometimes but you’re so right in having a back up plan. Ah this parenting stuff is hard ? x

  3. Kylie T
    / 5:36 am

    Well as I work in Teaching with the little one’s that start school I understand just how difficult of a decision it is to make as a parent but each day I see these little treasure’s grow, learn & play amidst happiness/friendships and fun. I see parents waiting at our classroom door each afternoon and when that child bounces out, gives a big hug; saying it was an amazing day you know the decision is right from that smile on their face. Good luck to your family and enjoy the many beautiful school days and memories to come.

    • Mim
      / 10:32 am

      Oh thank you Kylie, this is so lovely! I am looking forward to seeing her grow and learn when she does go x

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