Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Gifted Kindergartner

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My son is in kindergarten and his teachers are having him doing first grade work. He is also in an advance learning class. I don't want to pressure my son too much to advance so fast in school. Am I doing the right thing?

A: You are very wise to consider the benefits and costs of your son's advanced work in kindergarten.

A child-centered desire for more knowledge, however, is not always the basis for a teacher assigning advanced schoolwork or for a parent wanting a child to be more challenged academically. Often, teachers and parents see children who they believe should be more challenged academically because of their "potential." After those expectations are communicated to the children, they are then expected to live up to these expectations and academic demands. Especially at younger ages, kids feel guilty if they do not take on whatever their teachers and parents expect of them academically. They are eager to please and enjoy being praised for their advanced academic accomplishment. Unfortunately, they may often feel that they can't object to this work. They fear a loss of this special status and a withdrawal of their parents' and teachers' approval and appreciation.

You must find out whether your son is comfortable with his present advanced status. If this schoolwork content and schedule is a natural extension of who he is, then you can be assured that it's healthy. Be watchful for signs that he may feel pressured or overwhelmed by his present accelerated studies. And always let him know that your love for him is not tied to how much he accomplishes in school.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks