Parents Who Think Delaying Kindergarten a Year Gives Kids a Head-Start Need to Read This

Mom Moment 53

Does it seem like more and more parents are keeping their autumn-born children home from school for an extra year before they enroll them in kindergarten? It’s not in your head. Statistics show that more kids than ever are 6 instead of 5 when entering school these days.

The rationale makes sense. Parents generally want to give their kids the best chance, right? Why not start them a year later when they’re in that questionable, when-do-I-start-them time frame?

I had to confront this issue when my eldest started school. Her birthday is September 26. Her school’s cutoff date was September 1, but they allowed potential students to test in early, so long as his or her birthday was before December 1. We tested, she got in, and she started kindergarten a few weeks before her fifth birthday.

She is now the third youngest in her fifth grade class, and there are kids that are a full year or more older than her. And you know what? She’s doing just fine. I won’t lie ... some things have been more difficult throughout the years than if she’d had that extra year ... but nothing major. She gets good grades, she has great friends, and overall she is a spectacular kid.

But still there’s that worry that runs in the back of my brain (because I’m a mom and that’s what we do -- duh) that I have somehow done her wrong by starting her in school earlier rather than later.

So you can imagine how excited I was to find out that several long-term studies have recently come to light that show that younger students typically fare better later in life than older students do.

Think about it ... there is an almost un-doubtable advantage for a 6-year-old over a 5-year-old in the same kindergarten classroom. But what’s the difference between a 25-year-old and a 26-year-old in the workplace? Who do you think is likelier to fare better at that point ... the 26-year-old that was always ‘advanced’ in school, or the 25-year-old that always had to work a bit harder to keep up?

I’m sure it’s not a hard and fast rule, but I’m glad to know that some of the more difficult aspects of being among the youngest in class might actually be to my daughter's benefit someday.

Do you have an older or younger student in their grade? What made you decide to enroll them in school when you did?


Image via woodleywonderworks/Flickr

back to school, behavior, education, elementary school, grades, high school, in the news, kindergarten


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kjbug... kjbugsmom1517

We have June beats and the cut off use to be Oct now its end of July. So my youngest is def one of the youngest. My oldest is one of the youngest but she's kind of in between. We sent them because they were ready. Plain and simple. We didn't have valid reason to wait and they both have done fabulous so far and my youngests teacher just told me yesterday that she is very mature for being one of the youngest. So I think we did the right thing not waiting for sure with her. My oldest struggles to mature but we aren't sure if its add related.

nonmember avatar Desiree

Where I live, we have junior and senior kindergarten. Junior kindergarten starts when they're 4, so if their birthday is before January 1, they could potentially start when they are 3. And it's full day. It gives me less time to enroll my youngest in a preschool to socialize him and get him used to a classroom environment and schedule. I think there will be a few hiccups at first, but overall, I think it's better to get an early start.

Seanna Yeager

The testing date in my school district is currently October 15 at the latest, stinks since my son was born on Halloween.

Coles... Coles_mom

I went ahead and started my barely 5 year old in kindergarten against the advice of everyone- including my mother, who has a PhD in elementary education. Academically, he does fine, but every single parent teacher conference is the same...he's very emotionally immature. He's in 2nd grade now and while most of the boys in his class act like typical boys, I still get a phone call almost weekly that he's crying in the principal's office because he got his feelings hurt or someone teased him. He cries ALL THE TIME. I wish I would've waited the extra year, but I can't change the past.

nonmember avatar Tiffany

My children's birthdays are in August and September, and my two oldest started when they were 4. My youngest, born Sept. 25, will most likely start when she is 4, if her preschool teacher and I think that she is ready. If not, then we do another year of preschool and enroll her for the following fall. Maturity varies from child to child, I don't think mandatory cut-off dates reflect that.

nonmember avatar anonymous

You also have to think about the highschool years. Imagine you're 15. All your friends are 16 & getting their drivers licences. Would kind of suck to feel like you're "one step" behind. We all know how important our piers are in highschool.

nonmember avatar KateG

Having been one of the youngest in my class, I have to admit that I believe the extra year would help some kids. My birthday is August 14, and our cutoff was August 31. I was barely 5, when a lot of my classmates were about to be 6. I got along better with kids in the grade below me. I was academically gifted, but I didn't have great social skills. I was a whole year behind in that aspect. Ultimately, it's up to the parents to decide what to do if they have a child close to the age cut off. I would consider redshirting if my child was anything like me at that age, and his/her DOB was close to the cutoff.

eandb eandb

I think it just depends on the child. My daughter was 4 years old when she started kindergarten And she's now in 6th grade and 10 years old. She gets A's and B's and gets along very well with all the kids her age and even older ones as well. My oldest son started kindergarten at 6 and he does OK Typical boy stuff doesn't turn homework in sometimes. I'm glad he started at 6, If he had started earlier I think he would have been miserable and always behind. It just depends on the child and their maturity levels and their academic level.

eandb eandb

Oh yeah my oldest son is now in 7th grade, 12 and a half years old and he keeps up with his grade level for the most part. :)

Just had my youngestbaby daughter start kindergarten, she's 5, and so far so good! Our youngest son is two and a half, we'll just wait and see where he's at when he's getting close to kindergarten.

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