If you have a young child with ADHD, you probably worry a great deal about their future and whether their ADHD symptoms will affect their ability to be successful in school. You may also wonder whether you should redshirt, or delay, kindergarten a year to allow them time to mature and develop better impulse control. We sat down with Dr. Steinberg, a pediatrician at Woodburn Pediatric Clinic, to discuss when redshirting is an appropriate option and to learn tips and tricks that will make schooling more fun and enjoyable for kids with ADHD.

Should You Redshirt Your Child with ADHD?

Dr. Steinberg strongly advises against redshirting for kindergarten, because the process just delays kids’ education and parents will need to deal with the ADHD diagnosis whether the child is in school or not.

He believes that children should be in school by age 5, although preschool can be quite beneficial and should be weighed on an individual basis. Holding children back because they’re “immature” is a mistake as the underlying issues of a child’s immaturity can be addressed in school.

Dr. Steinberg says that redshirting isn’t necessary because a child with ADHD is just as bright and capable as any other child, but just needs to gain the ability to focus and manage impulses. He also recommends that parents talk to their child’s pediatrician about whether ADHD medication would be beneficial; he says in many cases it helps the child push past the blocks to focusing so he/she can thrive and succeed.

Can a Structured Environment Like a School Classroom Help Improve the Symptoms of ADHD?

Dr. Steinberg believes that structured school environments benefit all children, especially those learning to function with their ADHD. According to Dr. Steinberg, a good preschool for children with ADHD will provide structure with protocols (what will you approach and how) so the children learn to think through their actions and control their thoughts and movements. Children with ADHD should begin preschool at age 3-4, which is the optimal time to learn how to socialize, constructively deal with issues, and be age-appropriately independent.

Dr. Steinberg says that Montessori schools aren’t the best choice because they don’t provide as much structure as other schools/schooling methods, which children with ADHD desperately need.

How Can Parents Support Their Child in His or Her Schooling?

If your child has ADHD, the best way you can support his or her schooling is through good communication and collaboration with the teacher about your child’s strengths, challenges, and behavioral triggers. Essentially, the more you know, the more you can help your child improve and strive for greatness; as a parent, you’re the expert on your child but you may not know how your child reacts when surrounded by 20+ other children or when exposed to new situations.

Communication with a child’s teacher is invaluable because teachers can often identify ADHD behavior more easily because it stands out against other student’s typical behavior. This is of great benefit to parents who suspect their child has ADHD but have yet to have an official ADHD test to confirm the diagnosis.

Is ADHD Medication Helpful Before Starting Kindergarten?

Dr. Steinberg believes that ADHD medication should be considered for any child when it’s clear they are impaired and not able to function properly at their age level. The right treatment and right dosage can be extremely helpful in managing the condition and allowing a child to blossom.

ADHD can be difficult for both parents and the children affected by this disorder, but school is extremely beneficial and can help children mature and overcome the hurdles associated with their ADHD symptoms. We hope you found this information about redshirting for kindergarten helpful, and we encourage you to reach out to your child’s pediatrician if you have questions about your child’s individual needs.