Happy preschool age children play with colorful plastic toy blocks. Creative kindergarten kids build a block tower. Educational toys for toddler or baby. Top view from above.

Deciding to Redshirt My Kindergartener

If you are a fan of college sports, you’ve likely heard the term “redshirting” referring to keeping a college athlete out of competition for a year in order to develop their skills without losing a year of playing eligibility.

If you are the parent of a five-year-old with a summer birthday, you might have also heard of it in terms of kindergarten.

Redshirting for Kindergarten has become a popular topic in suburban America as some parents worry about giving their children an academic leg up, and others fear pushing a young child too quickly into an increasingly more academic kindergarten environment.

In my world (in mommy terms) it’s the decision about whether or not my July birthday boy is really ready to start big-boy school. I mean, he’s my baby!

But really, I’m ready. I think. He’s in preschool five days a week now, so the move to kindergarten really isn’t that different. But he just seems so young compared to the other kids starting kindergarten this fall. I know eventually a nine or ten-month age difference won’t matter, but when you’ve only been alive for five years, it’s kind of a big deal!

Like any good mom, I’ve surveyed the Facebook community, and my friends and family on the subject and the opinions are split. Some say, “He’s five, send him!” and “I had a summer birthday and started school when I had just turned five, and I turned out okay.”

“I had a summer birthday and started school when I had just turned five, and I turned out okay.”

Others were the opposite, in most cases sighting maturity and not academics, which is the issue I’m dealing with as well. He knows his letters, can count to one-hundred, and at times seems to read sight words better than his second-grade sister, but he just seems so young! (Did I say that already?)

And the actual research seems to be split on the subject too. While the kids held back a year do tend to do better academically, is that because they truly weren’t ready, or because now they are a year older than their peers? And do I want my kid to be that kid–the oldest one in class?

We all want what’s best for our kids, and right now I think the best thing is to wait. An extra year in preschool won’t hurt my son, and (hopefully) will help him gain the maturity I think he needs to survive the transition to elementary school. And maybe I’m not quite ready to let go of my little guy quite yet.

What do you think? Did you hold your child with a summer birthday back for a year? Are you glad you did?

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One Response

  1. I have a November baby. It wasnt my choice tomhold him a year. If their birthday is after September 1 they have to wait. I know my son was acedmically very ready to start. We could have had him tested to start when he was 4 turning 5. But I knew emotionally he was no where near ready to start so I was okay with waiting. He is now in all advanced courses, but being a boy, is still maturing later than the girls he is almost a year older than. He has always been the oldest in his class, but I dont think that gives them an academic advantage. He just loves school. I dont think he would be as in love with school if we started him earlier.