I Think It Sucks To Red-Shirt Your Child For The Wrong Reasons


Red-shirting has always been around but has gained a lot of traction in recent years in the parenting world. For the grade school uninitiated, this is the practice of holding back a child from beginning school even though their birthday falls within the confines of a state’s school cut-off date. Holding back kids from starting school is a controversial topic and is done for a variety of situations- developmental, academic, age and the (dubious) possibility of future athletic prospects are all reasons cited for delaying entry to school.

A parent on Reddit posted about his concerns with having a child entering kindergarten with a few developmental delays. The comments in this thread show what a wide range of strong views parents have on this topic. I have a child where this was a concern so this topic is something I’ve thought about. My daughter’s birthday is September 19th. The New York state cut-off is December 1st so there are many parents that hold back children with fall birthdays. My husband and I gave this a lot of thought and spoke with our daughter’s pre-k teachers to help us decide. She is smart and catches on to academic concepts but there were times where she showed her age and maturity level- namely, with her attention span.

In the end, we came to the conclusion that she would do well in kindergarten despite these concerns because she was strong in other areas. The teachers also mentioned that it would be beneficial to be around older children so hopefully, she would emulate their behavior. We agreed. She began school just shy of five years old and did beautifully. She is entering 2nd grade this fall and is a great reader and flies through her homework- there is no doubt that we made the right choice but at the time, I was nervous to see how it would all shake out.

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You can reach this post's author, Valerie Williams, on twitter.
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  • Megan Zander

    I started kindergarden at 4 and was always one of, if not the youngest in my class and I turned out fine- honors classes and all that jazz. Honestly the worst part was watching all my friends drive a year before I could, but at least I always had someone to give me a ride.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I was the youngest too – graduated at 17 because of homeschooling early on…. ;)

    • Megan Zander

      Homeschooling fascinates me. I’ve toyed around with the idea trying it for my kids, but I feel like I don’t have enough of religious conviction or school system rage to pull it off.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I think it was fine in elementary school, but I wouldn’t ever want to do it in the later years because I loved my social life. Also, my perception is kind of colored because my dad “forced” my mom to home school, so she wasn’t exactly a happy teacher.

    • Megan Zander

      I loved my social life in school too, and that’s the sole reason why my husband is Hell 2 the No about homeschooling, but I want to believe I can just keep them with me forever. And bullying scares me, it seems much worse than when I was in school.

    • keelhaulrose

      If you do go that route you really have to find the balance to give them a bit of independence. You can’t do college home-schooled, and the people I saw struggle the most in college were good students who had been home-schooled and just didn’t have the independent skills to live away from home or adapt to the rather visual/auditory teaching approach that most college lecture classes take.

    • Kelly

      You don’t need any religious conviction or rage. I’m a happy atheist and I homeschool.

    • noelle 02

      I get your concerns, but homeschooling works well when your sole motivation is to give your kids the best education possible. As for socializing, my son plays travel baseball and basketball as well as competitive debate and my daughter is a competitive dancer, so they spend more than enough time with their peers. That doesn’t count their weekly classes at a homeschooling co-op or church activities. There are so many social activities outside of school!

    • Rachel Sea

      I was always the youngest, and the hardest part for me was trying to find someone who would let me sign a lease at 17 when I started college.

    • LadyClodia

      Yeah, I was 17 when I first started college, and I tried to get a job on campus, but I couldn’t right away because I would have needed my parents to sign paperwork.

    • Megan Zander

      I had this issue with financial aid stuff, I remember having to call my parents to come to campus bc I couldn’t sign certain things, that was a pain, but otherwise, I have no real negatives that come to mind.

    • Spongeworthy

      That was the most difficult thing for me. In high school being younger was no big deal, but being 17 and in college presented a few challenges.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      Thankfully there was still OAC when I went to school (Grade 13) and I could graduate at 18. 17 would have been too damn early.

    • Rachel Sea

      I was more than ready to be done (I wanted to test out on my 16th birthday, but my parents wouldn’t sign off) it just wasn’t easy to get a property owner to recognize that my signature was legally binding, even though I was a minor.

    • Jessifer

      I was skipped ahead a year so I was always the youngest one in my class and since I’m a July baby, some of my classmates were 1 1/2 years older than me. I wasn’t really an issue. I graduated at 16 one of the top of my class. Of course back then in my province you had to do a “Grade 13″ if you wanted to go to university, so I completed that and went the following year when I was 17. It was probably for the best because 16 would have been quite young to move out of my parents’ house and live in a dorm with kids 18-19 years old.

    • SA

      I skipped KD so was always one of the youngest. I never really minded though until college. Being the last one to turn 21 sucked until I found a crappy fake ID!

    • Valerie

      I actually tried while writing this post to think of anyone I grew up with who was young for our grade and did not end up doing well in life and could not. One in particular ended up being a pharmacist, another a lawyer (not even you! how funny! lol). It really didn’t seem predictive of success or failure to be the youngest.

    • MomofTwo

      Totally. One of my close friends who had a 12/20 birthday and was always the youngest in our class is now a doctor! Our other classmate who had a 12/24 birthday owns a successful trucking and hauling business. I think they both did ok!

    • val97

      I’ll be going on a 40th birthday trip with my girlfriends as the only 39 year old, so there’s another unexpected bonus to being the youngest. :P

  • mediocrity511

    I always think the problem with holding back is that you then end up with the youngest children in a class with an even wider range of ages and abilities. This complicates things for the youngest and oldest in the class and it can be harder for teachers to pitch lessons across the spectrum. If there are very real reasons such as developmental delays, then obviously that’s different.
    I also think it creates problems and resentment at the other end of schooling. My cousin is Spanish and over there you get held back if you don’t pass your exams. He got held back a couple of years. At 18 other kids his age were off to University, travelling or starting a career, where he was stuck in the classroom. He had a lot of anger about it.

  • Justme

    I’ve seen this a lot with my friends and relatives that have boys with summer birthdays (the cut-off here in Texas is September 1st). One of my closest friends “red-shirted” her son for kindergarten not because she wanted him to be the biggest, strongest, and fastest but because he has an August 22nd birthday and she, being a teacher, understood that being the VERY youngest in his class could potentially cause problems in his future education. It wasn’t that she didn’t think he could keep up academically in kinder or first grade, but she was concerned that he would be immature behaviorally when he reached middle school, which often can cause issues that interfere with a child’s academics.

  • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Kay_Sue

    Red shirting for academic and social reasons I completely understand. We have a tremendous amount of data that shows that it can be beneficial to children when they have early birthdays. I have a summer birthday; I was always the youngest or close to it going through school. My boys are both late fall/winter babies. Our cutoff is September 1st, actually. So I started school early, but they haven’t/won’t. My older son just finished first grade, and he’s consistently praised as one of the best behaved children in his class. I’d love to take all of the credit–I really would!–but I do think some of it has to do with him being older than his classmates. He’s at a different level of maturity and it shows. Don’t get me wrong–I was always well-behaved (my mom taught in the same school or district throughout my grade school years and it was not unusual for her to know what happened at school before I even got home to tell her). I performed well academically. I enjoyed school. So I’m not saying it’s right for every child that has an early birthday. I do believe in maintaining it as an option, though.

  • Andrea

    I think most people severely over estimate sports being the main reason why parents red shirt. And that’s really why I hate that term. Most people I know that held back did it for a host of reasons that had zero to do with sports.
    My son has a summer birthday and where I live the cut off is August, so he would have been probably by far the youngest in his class. I held him back because while he was academically ready, I did not think he could hold his own in the playground with kids that were going to be several months older than him. He just was not ready for the rigors of Kinder. And remember, the K we knew as kids is nothing like it is now, at least where I live. They go a full day, complete with school buses, PE, lunch, and all the other school activities. There is homework and actual reading and math.

    I never regretted my decision. He excels academically and he is a leader among his peers, where I am pretty certain he would have been a follower. And I will DAMNED if anyone is going to question or judge my decision.

    • Valerie

      That sounds totally valid to me! I have some mild concerns about my June son entering kinder this fall for the same reasons but he did great at his screening today and is happy and social at pre-school so I’m hoping all goes well!

    • Andrea

      You know your kid best and you will make the best decision. It bothers me when people “question” reasons why anyone will or will not hold their child back.
      I had my reasons for doing it, just as you have your very valid reasons for not doing it. No one should judge either one of us.

  • val97

    Daycare/pre-school was over $1000 per month. After school care for kindergarten was around $250 per month. Unless my kids had been delayed in some way or their pre-school teachers absolutely felt they weren’t ready for kindergarten, there was no way I wasn’t going to get my kids into public school asap.

    • Valerie

      That definitely factored into our decision for our daughter. We decided unless she were legitimately behind, we would put her in kinder on time. The cost savings was huge.

    • MomofTwo

      That’s kind of where I am. My son is a late August birthday. He’s currently going to a private full day pre-k/daycare which costs in the five figures per year and going to a public school kindergarten which is free next year. If he has to repeat kindergarten, then so be it, but I sure as heck was not keeping him in his daycare pre-k that I was paying for another year! Unfortunately, there are next to no public pre-k options in my area.

  • Kendra

    I would never in a million years think to hold back my child for sports purposes. That said, this is something we have to think about! My daughter’s birthday is August 29th and the cutoff here is September 1st. So, she’ll either be one of the oldest in her class or one of the youngest. If she continues growing the way she has so far, I think she’ll likely be one of the youngest. Obviously we have awhile to make these decisions, but I’ve thought about it a lot already. And btw, I also have an August birthday and was one of the youngest!

  • Jennifer Freeman

    My birthday is in November, but I went to school in the 80′s when apparently you could chuck a kid in school at any age. I did fine. I wasn’t challenged academically or socially. My son is also a November birthday but now that they have age cut-offs he will be red shirted until the following year. He (as a baby, anyway) is already much bigger than his peers, so I am kind of worried that if that growth trend continues, he will forever be the kid who is way bigger than everyone else and looks out of place.

  • Nichole

    Our cut-off is Sept. 1 so we don’t have to worry about what to do with my oldest (Sept. 6) but we’ve already discussed what to do with our twins (Aug. 25) and will probably wait a year (I hate the term “red-shirt”). They are only a few days from the cut-off, were actually due at the end of Sept. and while they may be okay starting Kindergarten that early I am more worried about them graduating at 17 and starting college at 18. I think there is a difference in maturity levels in that one year and while some may be ready for college I prefer to have one more year of my kids at home before college. (Although not paying for day care for that extra year would be great.)

    • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

      I will agree with the graduating at 17 thing and not being mature enough for college/uni right after. I graduated high school at 17, and while I would have probably have been fine starting uni a month before my 18th birthday, I knew I didn’t want to do that and instead did a fifth year of high school (which isn’t uncommon here since we used to have five years of high school anyways). In my undergrad, however, I saw too many of my peers who rushed in at 17 or barely 18 who weren’t ready.

  • Kitsune

    Am I the only one who was horrified you would want your child to be a redshirt? Clearly we are way more into sci-fi than sports in my house. :)

    • LadyClodia

      Just don’t let them go on the away team.

    • Jessie

      Or work in Engineering… Or just ever be on a starship for any reason…

    • keelhaulrose

      I honestly didn’t realize that’s what it was called. I just saw the article and said “why would you do that to a child? Don’t you know red-shirting is the same as having someone standing over your injured body crying “don’t you die on me, damnit!”?”

    • Larkin

      This was totally my reaction, too! LOL.

    • Rachel Sea
    • Jennie Blair

      I clicked on it thinking there was some doomed star trek implications

  • LadyClodia

    I think it really depends on the child. For me the cutoff was Sept. 30th, and I’m the 22nd, so I was always one of the youngest kids. But even so, I could already read and I was really bored in kindergarten. Now the cutoff is when school starts, so for my Dec. and Nov. boys it won’t be an issue. I think it will work out really well for our 5 year old who will start kindergarten this year. I worry about our toddler because he’s kind of advanced and already starting to read, so it might not end up being a positive for him, but there’s nothing we can do about it.

  • Audrey

    As someone who used to work with kindergarteners, it’s far more frustrating to see the kids that were pushed into kindergarten before they were ready. We had two sets of twins, both premature, who didn’t turn 5 until December of their kindergarten year. They were developmentally behind, and they just were not ready for kindergarten. In the end, they had to repeat the year, and it seemed like it was so hard on these little boys who weren’t really doing anything wrong, just typical behavior of four year olds that doesn’t really belong in a kindergarten classroom.

    That said, starting kindergarten with a birthday in September seems perfectly reasonable, especially if your child seems ready for it. My boyfriend was a September kid and he was routinely the youngest in his grade, but did perfectly fine in school. I don’t know why, but for some reason those few months make such a difference in terms of development.

    • Valerie

      I totally think September is reasonable- I was on a parenting board at the time with people in several states and so many had June/July/August/September cut-offs and there was a lot of discussion of summer babies not being ready. I think it psyched me out a bit because otherwise, I might not have thought much of it!

  • Lilly

    Personally I won’t redshirt my son — he is a November baby so will be the youngest in his class. Since we do Jr & Sr K in Ontario he will start full-day kindergaden at 3.75 years. As parent though I do have to recognize that i will probably have to compensate for the younger age.

    I will add, that some research (although the topic is not heavily researched) is pointing to redshirting as not being beneficial but in fact possibly detrimental (bored kids don’t try as hard in the early years of school then struggle in the later years is the basic result). Counter to that is that younger kids have to work harder to catch up in early years and then carry that work-ethic in later years.


    • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

      My birthday is at the end of September so I started Jr K at 3 as well. I think it was only half days back then (1994), but my parents had already taught me how to read and write by then. I think it all really comes down to if a child is ready or not and what the parents think is best for them and how willing they are to work with their child’s education (hopefully very! As it sounds like you are :) )

    • melena gasper

      You were reading and writing at age 3? Kaaaay.

    • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

      Um, yes. I was. My parents and grandma worked at teaching me. It’s not like I could read The Great Gatsby or write a doctoral thesis at 3, but I knew my alphabet, could write simple words and sentences, and could read simple books and some road/shop signs.

      You don’t have to believe me, but I have no reason to make up anything about myself. A lot of kids can read and write simple things at 3.

    • Kati

      My three year old has been segmenting sounds and blending them for a while but if you ask her, she doesn’t know how to read even though that is exactly what she’s doing, so yes, threw year olds can read ;)

    • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

      Aw, that’s cute :)

    • LadyClodia

      I could read when I was 3, and my toddler will be able to read by the time he’s 3 too; although my 5 year old is just starting to read. Some kids pick up reading faster than other kids.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      I was that kid (Dec), also in Ontario. If he’s where he needs to be developmentally, he should be just fine.

  • RayneofCastamere

    So long as they aren’t sent to a distant planet with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, they should be fine.

  • shel

    In my home town, there was a family (extended members of the same family) that made a habit of redshirting their boys in 8th grade- they would pull them out of our school and make them repeat 8th grade at the catholic school so they would be a year older for sports before they got to highschool.

    Of course their dad/uncle was the coach for some of the highschool sports teams… I know at least one of them did go on to play professional basketball… but it caused a huge controversy when I was in school (two of the boys were in my class until they repeated the year) and debates on eligibility etc.

    I think that scenario is totally ridiculous… But for a kindergarten age child- maturity and social skill reasons can be very important to start younger or older…

  • Alene

    I am an October birthday, so in a bit of a gray area, and my parents decided to hold me so I would be one of the older ones in my class. I was tested before they made the decision, and it just turned out I was an “it’s up to you” kid. Whoever did the testing said I would do fine if I were to go early, but was not so starved for the challenge that I really needed to be in school. Again, I was in the gray area with my birthday, and my mom wasn’t ready to send me yet. We’ll probably face something similar with this being a September baby, but my husband (June baby who loved graduating high school at 17 and not having to wait another year to get out of his parents house) is pushing pretty hard for her to start earlier rather than later. So we will see. It all depends on the kid, and to some extent, the parent.

  • Momma425

    My birthday is in April and I was in the younger half of kids in my grade. I did fine and had no issues keeping up. It sucked because all of my friends got to drive before me,a nd I had to wait until almost the end of the year before I got to get my license- but people who had birthdays in the summer had my complete sympathy.
    My brother on the other hand, has a september birthday and he was always the oldest one in his class. He still struggled a lot in school (was diagnosed with ADD in middle school). And mom HATED how he got his license first and was the one who was driving all of the other kids around.
    I think there are positives and negatives for whenever you choose to let your kids start school.

  • keelhaulrose

    My daughter’s birthday is September 2nd, and our states cutoff is the first. We can petition for them to go earlier if we wish (the district discourages it and red-shirting), and I was wondering about possibly asking for that (she’s all but guaranteed to be the oldest in her class otherwise). As many readers know she is autistic, and I’m worried that autistic+ oldest in class might be a social nightmare for an already socially stunted child. But when I talked to the principal of the early childhood center she’s going to the principal sang the praises of her birthday, saying she’ll be nearly six when she goes so they get an extra year to work with her, and there’s a good chance that year will mean all the difference with speaking and being able to sit and attend to work. I’m certain I’m going to keep her there now, to me it’s mostly academic with a bit of social. I want her to succeed in school, and that’s the most important thing to most parents.

    • bl

      FWIW I was a “missed the date by day” type kid too, though not autistic. I was very academically advanced so my mom went to petition but they met me and said academically, no problem, but socially and emotionally, I was not ready and would be better starting next year as my birthday indicated. It was a great decision. I was one of the oldest, but I never felt older than anyone else. I was also one of the tallest and most advanced kids but never ostracized as the “old” kid. No one thought I was held back. My age just wasn’t important to the other kids. I bet it will be great for your daughter to get the extra time to build social skills. Best wishes.

  • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

    I find it fascinating that there’s so many different cut-off dates for school. Here it’s December 31 (or at least that’s what it was), so being born September 30, I was always one of the younger ones, but not the youngest. I started Jr. Kindergarten at 3 and didn’t have problems because I could already read and write. My parents knew I could handle going to school at that age and I’m pretty sure they had a meeting with the teacher so she could see if I was ready or not and to recommend my parents wait if I wasn’t.

    I did graduate high school at 17, though, and would have started university at 17, too, if I hadn’t decided to stay back for a fifth year. I didn’t feel ready to start university then and my parents didn’t push me to go right away. I probably would have been ok, but I liked having the extra year to get everything in order. Plus by starting uni when I did meant being able to legally drink within a month. (Drinking age is 19 here) ;)

    I think it really depends on the kid. Are they ready mentally? Awesome if they go even if they’ll be on the young side. Not ready? Probably shouldn’t be forced in. And parents being actively involved in their kids’ education as much as they can (teaching them to read and write, etc) probably helps a lot, too.

    • Jessifer

      Being 18 for my entire first year of university really sucked because everyone else was 19 or turning 19 soon (back then everyone had to do OAC). All my friends would head off to the bar and I’d have to stay behind in the dorms :(

    • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

      Yeah it was definitely an upside to staying back a year that I didn’t have to worry about being left behind or getting others to buy me alcohol and then hide it from the RAs!

      I would have stayed behind with you, though! I hated leaving people behind. :)

    • Jessifer

      I had a bunch of friends who were studying in Ottawa so whenever I’d visit during that year, we were always hanging out in sketchy Hull/Gatineau bars.

    • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

      Ah, sketchy Gatineau bars. I haven’t been to one yet (I’m doing my MA in Ottawa), but I had a bunch of friends who grew up in Ottawa and they told the rest of us who grew up too far for the Quebec border all about those!

    • Lilly

      the sketchy bars in Gatineau are apparently not so sketchy anymore (and are also stricter about carding) — a lot of crackdowns happened in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I grew up in Ottawa and went to them at 17 — now I would balk at letting my kid do the same.

      I did OAC and so the 5th year was nice — I actually had enough credits to graduate after 4 years but wanted some extra OAC credits for specific entrance requirements (for programs I ended up not going into). I went to BC for uni and it was pretty funny my first year since all the other 1st years were 18 but the drinking age was 19 I ended up hanging out with the foreign exchange students since we could all go to the bars (as I was 19 from the extra high school year)

    • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

      I can see that happening. I’m 23 now so I don’t have to worry about sneaking into bars anymore.
      I also got a kick out of the kids who came over from Alberta and Manitoba (I went to my undergrad in Thunder Bay so there were a bunch from out west) who had just turned 18 and could drink in their home provinces but didn’t realize the drinking age was 19 in Ontario. Mostly because I met a couple that got irrationally angry that residence would crack down on underage drinking.

    • LadyClodia

      When my mom was in school the cutoff for kindergarten was 5 years old by Dec. 31st, and she was Dec. 15th, so she was always one of the youngest, and at some point they changed it to Sept. 30th, so I was one of the youngest with a Sept. 22nd birthday (although there was a girl who was the 29th.) Now it’s by the start of school, which is sometime in August.
      I started college at 17 and graduated when I was 21. It sucked to not be able to go out and drink until my senior year of college. (My husband was legal shortly after we got married, so I still partook at home.)

    • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

      Yeah, that would suck not being able to drink until senior year!

      When I went to the states for my riding team in third and fourth year I was able to buy cheap alcohol to bring back to Canada. There were a couple of us 21 or over, so the younger girls got us to buy them things and hid them in the stow and go compartments of the rental van. Thankfully the border guards never insisted on searching the van lol.

    • bl

      Same. I’m surprised by all the December dates. When I started school in the states, you had to be 5 before or soon after school started, usually September 1. I’m also fascinated by your optional 5th year. My high school would have laughed at kids who volunteered to stay a 5th year and I doubt it would even be allowed if you qualified to graduate. Very interesting and cool concept though. Not everyone is ready for college at the exact same time, so it’s nice there’s still a place in school for kids.

    • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

      I think they’ve started charging extra for the fifth year, but my province used to have up to grade 13 anyways, so I think that’s why it wasn’t considered a huge deal. And even if they do charge for it (not a whole lot, mind you), they don’t discourage kids from staying back the extra year if they needed/wanted it. It was really nice I got that option and that my parents were ok with it and understood why I made that choice.

  • SA

    We were concerned our daughter would be born after the cut-off date. She made it by two days!! :) I was always the youngest and liked it and also I didn’t want to pay for another year of daycare!

  • Rachel Sea

    I think it used to be the opposite. In my school district the rule was that kids must be 5 by the first day of school. I oughtn’t have started school for another year, but my mom pushed for me to be enrolled at 4, because I was reading, and pre-school was done with me. The kids who were turning 6 soon into the kindergarten year were looked at as being the slow kids, and it doesn’t seem like that would have been the case if it wasn’t usual for almost-5-year-olds to be enrolled.

  • Kim B

    My birthday is in late November and the cut off here is (or was) December 1st. I was always the youngest in my class. I had no problems academically but I was also tiny and a late bloomer (I grew 6 inches in my senior year!) so I looked a lot younger than everyone else. So the bullies were fun. It’s all good now though. At 34, I am still mistaken for a teenager and I love it!

  • Ms. Anne

    In the state where I grew up the cutoff date was Sept 30. Now I live in a state with a December cutoff date and I just am not comfortable with it. My son is a late October baby and I just don’t see sending him to 1st grade while he’s still 5, or to college when he’s only 17. I suspect a lot of it has to do with my own perspective of a later cutoff date, but I’m holding him a year, even though he is very advanced verbally (he has shown little to no interested in reading/writing/academics so far). I’ve spoken to his preschool teachers and other parents and it seems like a lot of parents of October/November babies do that around here. It just seems so arbitrary. I’m stressed about it (BIG DECISION!) but I really hope it is the best decision. I tend to obsess over even minor things so it has been so hard to make this decision!

  • JAN

    My son just turned five so technically should start Kindergarten this Fall, however, his preschool has suggested another year of pre-K and the Director has a PhD in Child Development so I’m inclined to trust her judgment but it does make me worried. He is emotionally young for his age but her biggest concern is that while he is fine academically, he is lacking in fine motor skills and still cannot hold a pencil correctly for any length of time. I have set up an appointment to have him evaluated by an Occupational Therapist. It’s so stressful because you want to do the right thing but it’s not always obvious what that is!

  • classicfilmchic

    Here in California our cutoff date for kindergarten is September 1, which I think is really early. However, you can sign them up for “transitional kindergarten” if they have birthdays between September 2 and December 2. Transitional kindergartners are in a regular kindergarten class but at the end of the year the teacher and the parents decide if they are ready to move on to first grade or repeat kindergarten again. My daughter was born October 25 and knew all her letters, numbers, and some math and spelling so I signed her up for the transitional kindergarten. She did amazing, she now reads books like her favorite Green Eggs and Ham, and learned math so we were thrilled to find out her teacher said she was ready for first grade. It’s great having a choice because I didn’t want to hold her back in preschool another year. I was afraid she’d be bored.

    • Lilly

      that seems like a really good compromise

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      I like that option.

    • Justme

      In my school district we used to have a thing called D1 Kindergarten which was for kids that needed another year of maturity and growth in between kinder and first grade. It worked WONDERS for the children (mostly boys) who went through that program. But unfortunately, due to budget restraints…that program is no longer available. :(

  • CanLeigh

    I’ve never actually heard of doing this, but I totally agree with every word written. Had I known about this when my son was younger, I may have actually considered it. I loved school as a child, and I was always the youngest, but my son has always been behind as far as maturity goes and that has been his biggest struggle, to a point that it does effect his academic performance.

  • Ro

    I started kindergarten as a 4 year old. My birthday is at the end of January, so I was very young. Looking back, I wish my parents had waited another year. I was fine academically, but I was very shy and insecure all through school.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    I was 3 when I started junior kindergarten. The cut-off to turn 4 was Dec. 31 and my birthday was early Dec. I turned 4, while many other kids were turning 5 soon. There were social gaps. But I was in the advanced reading class in grade 1 when I was 5.
    I dunno… being the youngest forces you to grow up faster and try harder. Sometimes it’s too much too soon and every kid develops at their own pace. But being the youngest is not a harbinger of eternal challenges in school. It’s individual. And I think it’s shit to delay a child’s education over sports. Over developmental readiness? Sure, assess and decide. But not sports.

  • brebay

    Well nobody who does it thinks it’s the “wrong reason.” Everybody does it out here. Before we moved my (non-red-shirted son) was one of the tallest in his class, he is now one of the shortest. They do it out here so their boys will be bigger for football and their girls will be a year older when they go off to horrible, rapey college. But EVERY DAMNED one will tell you their snowflake wasn’t “developmentally ready.”