42 answers

Redshirting My Kindergartener...

Hi Mamas! Long time, no type! Quick update- we were able to sell the house in NY and move to FL. I was offered a great job and we are settled into my hometown and loving it! No more snow!!

Now, on to the question...

My son is a late May birthday and is eligible for Kindergarten in August. In NY, the "cut off" date is 12/1. Here in FL it is 9/1. We have toured/tested at several private schools, one of which mentioned that me may be better redoing Pre-K due to his birth date as well as his physical size and overall maturity. I am really struggling with this because he is incredibly bright. My husband is 100% behind the idea, as he doesn't want him to be the "runt" for the rest of his life. My hesitations are pretty straightforward in that I don't want him to have to explain to people why he's a "year older, but wasn't retained... just started Kindergarten a year later" forever.

I really want your feedback here as mothers, educators, grandmothers, father, etc. Did you hold your child out of K for a year? How did it work out? What were your deciding factors? Would you do it again? Did you send a "summer birthday" to K? How did it work out?

This has been on our minds quite a bit in the last week or so. Just looking for some non-family opinions. For what it's worth, my father was 4 when he went to K and STILL (at nearly 60) talks about how he wishes he had an extra year to grow up before going and my mother thinks we're jumping the gun.


ADDED: We crossed off the school that recommended holding him back without assessing his skills. That did not sit well with me at all, but the idea hadn't crossed our minds in NY but here in South FL it seems pretty common to start boys with May-August birthdays a year late.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

We spoke about this at length last night and we are going to go ahead and enroll him in Kindergarten. We have 7 full months to work on his independence and maturity and having spoken with the principal we know that we can always change our mind regarding placement right up until the end of July.

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If his bday is in May and he is 5 in may there is no question in my mind that he should be in Kinder in the fall. If it doesn't go well he can always repeat Kinder but lets not assume he will fail or not be able to excel in kinder off the bat.

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I would definitely send him. If need be, he can re-do Kinder. Has more to gain by redoing K than preschool.

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He will be 5 in May?
I would send him to school. If he is intellectually ready, send him. If you hold him back he may end up way ahead of his class all through school and then be bored in school and become the class clown or troublemaker.

As far as being 'the runt' I think that is a horrible thing to think about him. Right now he may be physically smaller than the rest of the kids but a lot of that is genetics. My youngest son was a little guy until 8th grade when he grew about a foot all in one school year.

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If his birthday was a few days before the cut-off I could see the hesitation, but he's going to be 5 for four full months before the cut-off. And you say he's bright. That means that if you hold him out he'll probably be intellectually ready for kindergarten, but stuck doing preschool stuff. There are a lot of parents who wish they hadn't held their kids out cause their kids got turned off in preschool or in kinder because they were bored. If you had a major worry about his maturity, or his skills readiness, then consider holding him out. But if he's a typical 4.5 year old boy who can barely sit still, only follows directions when he wants to, etc... then send him. He'll be better off with his peers.

My twin girls were born in May as well, and went to kindergarten at age 5. They're somewhat in the middle of the group in terms of age. And they know exactly how old every other kids is and told me within the first week which two kids were already six. I know I shouldn't have, but I wondered what was wrong with the two kids to have their parents keep them out a year. It was just my first reaction. Don't force your son into a situation where other parents might think he's not smart enough or well behaved enough to go to school with all the other kids his age.

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I think you should base it on his maturity. To be honest, he makes the cutoff so easily that holding him back seems to start an arms race in a way. No one wants their child to be the youngest or smallest so I think it's all creeping back so that next thing, kids with a Feb bday will be held back. But it's justifiable if your son's maturity really isn't there and I'd use the teacher's input on that. They know best. If he is incredibly bright, I'd hesitate to hold him back though bc K is pretty easy most places so he should easily be suitable for the class. I've helped in K and 1st grade for 2 years and there are some boys who are more fidgety etc but when they're really smart, it's not a problem so much bc they're doing the work just fine. I think they'd be very bored being held back as they're already ahead academically. Being bored can cause behaviour problems too. If he's small and likely to always be small, I'm not sure how holding back helps that much. He'll have to get used to that at some point. If it's likely he'll have a growth spurt, then it'll happen anyway. The kids in our school range in size enormously and doesn't seem to be a problem for any of them.

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Actually, the evidence shows that holding kids back who don't academically need to be held back is detrimental to them in the long term. Even if children are slightly immature, being around kids who are slightly older is beneficial to them (forces them to "up their game" so to speak). Kids who are the younger ones in their classes go on to complete more higher education (higher percentage of graduate degrees) and on average earn more money over their lifetimes. So there's strong evidence that you should NOT hold a child back unless there is a compelling academic need to do so.

My girls are both young for their grades. My oldest has a mid-September birthday, so she's one of the youngest in her class. My youngest has a June birthday, and is actually one year ahead in school. Both girls are well-liked by their peers and have lots of friends. They have always had straight As.

Likewise, my husband and I both have mid-October birthdays and were always the youngest in our respective classes. Neither of us ever had any academic or social problems, and speaking for myself, since I was used to working hard and applying myself academically, I was able to get scholarships to a great private high school and then to an Ivy League university.

Bottom line, if you think your child can do it, he can and he will. Kids will live up to our expectations, positive or negative. Don't listen to the naysayers, and encourage him. He will thrive in school.

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I would definitely send him. If need be, he can re-do Kinder. Has more to gain by redoing K than preschool.

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If his bday is in May and he is 5 in may there is no question in my mind that he should be in Kinder in the fall. If it doesn't go well he can always repeat Kinder but lets not assume he will fail or not be able to excel in kinder off the bat.

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He will be 5 in May?
I would send him to school. If he is intellectually ready, send him. If you hold him back he may end up way ahead of his class all through school and then be bored in school and become the class clown or troublemaker.

As far as being 'the runt' I think that is a horrible thing to think about him. Right now he may be physically smaller than the rest of the kids but a lot of that is genetics. My youngest son was a little guy until 8th grade when he grew about a foot all in one school year.

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I think it's just sad for kids to not be with kids their own age. He's not going to enjoy being with kids that will be on a totally different academic level within a year or two. My grandson was held back in 1st grade due to absences. He was so bored by 3rd and 4th grade. They did some extra classes and moved him up to his age group.

Just because your son is small is no reason to hold him back a year and put him with kids a whole year younger than he is.

There will be younger kids in his class. Lots of kids are born in the summer.

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Your son's birthday is in MAY. He has a full three months (plus part of May) before the cutoff. Kindergarten is designed for FIVE year olds, not six year olds, and certainly not kids who will be SEVEN before the end of the school year. He will not be four when he starts school like your father was. He will be five and will have been five for awhile. May is not a summer birthday.

I feel very strongly about this and I don't mean to sound rude, but I think the process of holding kids back is getting more and more ridiculous as parents with spring babies are now holding them. Also, if your son is as small as you say he is, he will be one of the smallest kids in the class a year from now too. Unfortunately, that's just the way it goes. I was a TINY kid growing up and always looked to be about 3-4 years younger than I was. That's life and being a year behind in school wouldn't have mattered - I'd still have been one of the shortest kids. When my son went for his five year checkup, he was taller and heavier than I was at my eight year checkup (my mom has all my old stats).

Please send your five year old to kindergarten. The people I know who debated it last year and decided to send their kids are SO happy they did and feel they really would have regretted holding them back a year (my son is in kinder this year and many of his friends faced this decision last year - all but two, both with September birthdays, sent their kids to school).

If people only think your son is young until he starts speaking, and then they realize he is obviously older and just small, he is ready for kindergarten. He is also still going to be sensitive a year from now. Holding him back a year is not going to make him significantly taller, nor will it change his personality.

ETA: I should have noted that my son's birthday is also at the end of May, so age-wise, I was in the exact same place as you. Holding him never even crossed my mind for a second.

You also say he's incredibly bright. Think about how bored he's going to be when he's seven years old and learning one letter a week in kindergarten with a bunch of five year olds.

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a late may birthday is not that young.. if he was last august days away from the cutoff.. maybe.. if you send him.. there will be kids born in june july and august younger than him.. he will not be the youngest.

I would probably send him. he needs to be with his peers. the best way to help him learn and mature is to get him to schoool with his peers adn the behaviour expectations of real school.

my son is a june birthday.. michigan cutoff is december 1.. academically he is above grade level but he struggles with staying on task, following directins.. completing tasks on time.. but I think he would struggle with those skills if we had held him back a year.

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I am not a fan of redshirting unless it's obvious a child needs it or there's an actual delay. Studies show that starting school earlier helps kids achieve higher IQ scores and mature faster. School helps the young kids more than just staying in preschool does. Also, studies show that any academic advantage to starting late is gone by middle school, and then kids have missed a year of school in those crucial young years when they learn the most.

My summer baby will start kindergarten at 5. Also, I have never heard of routinely starting May babies late! Those kids will be 7 before the end of the year! August or late July babies are the ones I hear about getting redshirted (or those with actual delays, of course).

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Welcome to FL! My son also is a may baby, I had him start kindergarten when he was eligible. He's done fine! And may is not what I consider a summer birthday.

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My kids birthdays are June and July and they started K at age 5 with no problems. He probably wouldn't even be the youngest kid there. If you think he is emotionally, socially ready then go for it!

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I am not in this situation with my son (he just turned 5 in January), but when I started school, I turned 5 on August 6 and started Kindergarten before the end of that same month. At the time, the cut off was 10/31 so I have a good friend who was 4 until her birthday on 10/31 that started Kindergarten the same time as me. Neither of us ever thought anything of it. You say your son is bright, if it was me, I would go for it. I think its a shame to hold him back because of his size. Welcome to FL. I moved here in '99, left for 1 1/2 years and came back in August. So happy to be back in sunshine.

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I have had two early june birthday kids start K on time and they both thrived. My 2 yo has a July 30th bday (and as of now a bit on the small side), he is also very bright and currently I have no intention of starting him a year late. My daughter is now in 3rd grade and at the top of her class. She was a very petite girl (still is), but maybe that is less of a concern for girls? My son is still in K and is at the top of his class. He is very average in size. I have never understood making educational decisions based on a child's stature. We have only ever considered academic readiness (and since they were all reading very well prior to starting K it was never really a question for us). I am not sure how educators evaluate maturity for K. I think for some kids if they are put in a situation where more is expected of them they will rise to the challenge and thrive.
And I am also confused on how someone giving you a tour (I assume she did not otherwise know your child?) was giving recommendations on holding your child back. What does his current teacher say? I would consider her input but would not even give two thoughts to what some random person said during a tour.
Being bright can sometimes have its own "problems" and create some boredom in school, that will only become a bigger potential issue the longer you wait to start him. For me, academic readiness would always trump size.

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Wait, so he'll be 5 this May? If that's the case, I'd put him K in the fall if you think he's ready. How did he do in pre-K?

I'm sorry, I just think we parents worry way too much about this. It's a very personal thing. If you think your son is ready, go for it! You will be amazed how much he's going to mature over the summer. For what it's worth, I started when I was 4 (Oct birthday) and had no problems "keeping up". My oldest has a late June birthday and has excelled, even as one of the younger kids.

And waiting a year is no guarantee that your kid will be the biggest & smartest. My daughter's BFF is almost a whole year older but my daughter is taller (slightly) and does better academically.

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I can only answer from the opposite side. My son has a July birthday. We did not refrain from entering him in kindergarten at the appropriate age. He had been 5 for about 5 weeks when he started kindergarten (they start in August here).

He is fine. He was neither large, nor small for his age. Although he was the absolute youngest kid in his classes for a few years. Now that he is in a larger school system (9th grade) and not smaller private schools, he is no longer the youngest. He fits right in.

Our daughter is in the same boat. She has a late June birthday, and so has always been nearly the youngest in her classes. She was the smallest kid for a long time, but she is a girl, so that may play differently than for a boy. But, she has always been very academically advanced and would have been miserable if we had made her stay out for another year. She was chomping at the bit to start k4 (and already could read).

If your son is academically ready, but especially if he is advanced, then I think the rest will work itself out as he grows.
ETA: Regarding the For what it's worth part about your dad. He entered kindergarten at 4. That is totally different than entering it at 5, when you are supposed to be entering it. If he started at 4, then he started EARLY, not on time.
And like another poster pointed out, most schools run through most of May, and I really don't consider May birthdays as "summer birthdays". I think of kids who have birthdays in June, July or August, when the kids are out of school---which creates complications having kids come to birthday parties due to vacations and not being able to send invites to school to contact everyone. At least, that is how "I" think that term came about.

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With a 12/1 cut off, I would seriously consider holding back a Sept/Oct/Nov birthdate, but May seems like he would be middle of the pack in terms of age, not the youngest. If you dont think he is ready, then by all means hold him back. But I would not hold him back based on his birthday alone.

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I've read alot about this too as my daughter has a July birthday. I've found it usually is boys that are held because as your husband said...no one wants their son to be the runt. For some reason it's OK for girls to be smaller tho (I'm not disagreeing, just stating).

I guess the real determiner would be how he did in Pre-K the first time around (if he went). Was he mature enough...did he have friends...did he learn well.

I really think it's a fine line. There was a kid in my class who skipped a grade (smarty pants) but was one of the biggest kids in our class. There were also kids who were red-shirted and no one ever called them 'dumb' for being held...were mostly jealous because they got their licenses first, and turned 18 first, etc.

Do what feels right for your son...it will all work out fine no matter what you choose. (That being said...I will probably be asking this same question in a year...so much easier to answer when it's not your own kid!)

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I have not read all the answers, but I wanted to mention something in case it has not been mentioned yet.

In CA, they are in the process of changing the cutoff date from 12/1 to 9/1. Some parents want to red-shirt their kids that are born just before 9/1 and register them for kindergarten the following year instead. But, I've heard that at least some areas are looking at the kid's birthdate when registering so the child would actually be put in 1st grade based on age. I know it seems strange, but it might be worth making sure that if you hold your child back there aren't any issues with him getting into kindergarten next year. It doesn't sound like there would be since you've said it is common practice to hold back summer birthday children in that area. But it's worth checking into it just in case.

I have a brother and sister that were both November born babies. My Mom said my sister did fine, but wishes she had held back my brother.

It really depends on each child. I wouldn't hold back just for size, but if there are other concerns, then it might be worth while.

Also, it sometimes hard to decide now for what your child will be ready for in September. Can you go ahead and register and change your mind later if needed...perhaps after he has been assessed by the school (if they do that)? We have something called transitional kindergarten for those affected by the cutoff change. I'm going to register my kids but chances are that I will not actually enroll them because the transitional kindergarten hours are as long as the kindergarten ones and I want my kids to have more free time in their last year before starting school.

I have November born babies (twins), and since the cut off is changing, the choice is really taken away from me. But looking at my kids now (4 years old), I think the extra year might do them well. One of them is still trying to figure out if he is left or right handed so his fine motor skills are lacking. Plus they still need work on self-care skills...like getting dressed.

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My twin boys have a birthday a few weeks after your sons...June 16th. We did "redshirt" our boys as you put it and it was the BEST BEST BEST decision we made. Both of our boys were bright but having had my daughter be the youngest of her class we decided the second time around we liked the advantages of being the oldest. They are in first grade now, could be in second but are doing wonderfully. Both kinder and 1st grade teachers remark about how mature they are, well behaved and academically having no issues grasping the content. Again, my daughter has an August birthday and has done fine for the most part but when she hit middle school and all that pyscho drama of that age, I really wish she had been the oldest and not the youngest. Best wishes on whatever you decide, you will hear good stories either way, you just have to do what is best for YOUR son. Oh, and I also like that my boys will be going into college as 19 years olds instead of newly 18, hoping that extra year of maturity will cut down a little on the laziness and partying and not taking it seriously :-)

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Is your son actually immature, or just small? A May birthday will still put him pretty much in the middle of the pack, so I don't know why you're worried that he'll be the youngest. If he's physically small, you have no idea whether he still will be next year or not. You say he's bright, so I'd worry that he'll be older and considerably more advanced than his classmates.

However, if he is considerably less mature than the other kids, and your preschool teacher has told you this, then I might consider redshirting.

ETA: Your son will have one more year than your father did. He was four. Your son will have been five for three or four months already!

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So he will turn 5 in May 2013 and you are considering not starting him in K until August/Sept 2014? He will be 6. Is that correct?

If I am understanding you correctly and I were you I would not hold him back (or reshirt) him unless there were academic or social readiness issues and/or some medical/physical delay....not just being the "runt".

When my son started he was 4 turning 5 in Oct. The cut off was 12/31 then. He was right in line w/ the others (although all through baby - preschool years he had been the bigger child) but was a bit of a runt. There was one boy whose parents held him back and he thrived academically but was a royal pain in the *** to the other kids and adults (thought rules didn't apply to him etc). Then we moved and he was a year younger than the other kids in his grade and was smaller/hit puberty later (not in age necessarily but by grade). He is now bigger than others who thought he was the "small fry" just a few short years ago.

Boys do tend to mature more slowly than girls but there are always exceptions. I have a July birthday and started when I had just turned 5 and never had a problem.

Kids will always find a reason to pick on others...too small, too big, too tall, too short, too skinny, too fat, too pretty, not pretty enough. You have to do what is best for your child and teach them how to cope/respond/not respond. You can't make your decisions based on what others will think or say because you will NEVER make everyone happy.

You may well see a big change in maturity between now and May, let alone August. For now, keep your options open and reevaluate in May/June.

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Hi K.!

I have a 7 yr old son with bday of 8/23. Cutoff here in TX is 9/1. We had him do kinder in 2010....he turned 5 yrs old the day he started kinder. Long story short, he repeated kinder in 2011 and is now in the first grade. He knows he is the oldest in his class (definitely not the biggest as he is on the small size....another reason we wanted him to repeat kinder). His first year in kinder was pretty rough...biggest problem was lack of focus. His second year in kinder (we called him a kinder senior) was better, but we heard alot of "I should be in first grade." This year, first grade, it was like it all came together. He talks less and less about being in first grade when he "should" be in second grade. He is understanding that being one of the oldest kids in his class has its advantages (or will have).....i.e. he will be the first in his class to drive, to date (at 16 yrs....only 9 years away!!).

I started way early....I was 4 yrs when I started kinder.....and it sucked! Especially being the youngest and the last to drive and date.

That's our story. Hope it helps. Please feel free to PM if you need more info.

Take care,

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Go ahead and hold him back. And just say - we moved to the area and missed the cutoff if you feel like you have to explain anything. I doubt he's the only one. :)

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I'm a huge proponent of red-shirting. If you can, do it. As a the mother of a child who is also the runt of the class and incredibly immature, I wish I could hold him back a year. But the school won't hear of it because he is very smart.(5th grade. No way ready for 6th grade.) Meanwhile, he's absolutely miserable because his social relationships at school have suffered tremendously due to his immaturity. He is constantly bullied and harrased about his size.

We are actually considering moving him to another district next year so he can repeat the 5th grade without all the social ramnifications the school is so worried about. My SIL, who lives in Florida, did this for her son between 2nd and 3rd grade. He had a late August birthday and should have never, ever started school when he did. And she is an elementary teacher. I'm sure the high cost of childcare had a lot to do with it.

Anyway, people aren't going to ask or even know why he's a year older than the rest. Especially if he's on the smaller side.

My daughter has 2 girls in her class that were red-shirted (late summer birthdays) and they've never had an issue with the age perception. In fact, they seem to be everyone's favorites because they are more mature - both mentally and physically - than their peers. It's been a huge help to them in sports also.

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My husband is 42 years old. His birthday is in July. He still gives his mother a hard time for not holding him back when he started kindergarten because he was the smallest in his class. Just sayin :)

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Truly, you will not spend the rest of your life explaining to folks why he's a bit older. There will be other kids in his class who are around his age. No one is going to assume he's behind or has some issue because he's on the older side.

In fact you'd eventually meet parents who will confide that they wish they'd held their kid back and started K a year later.

It is far, far easier just to let a child enjoy another year of pre-K to mature, have fun, keep on learning social skills and get ready for K....than to put him into K even a bit too soon and end up with a tough K year, which I've seen turn into tough first grade years all too often.

Because your son is bright, you want him to be challenged, of course. But he can be challenged in a good pre-K and by you. There really is no rush.

Our friends' son was very bright but teachers advised having him repeat K because he just wasn't ready for the responsibilities of first grade. Our friends, afraid he'd be bored or labeled as dumb for repeating K, sent him on to first anyway -- and it took until about fourth or fifth grade for him really, truly to settle, be organized and not find school a real chore. (The issue wasn't intelligence, it was his maturity and especially organization.)

If he had had another year of preschool before even starting K, he would have had a much better, more positive K year, and would have moved into first with so much more confidence.

Your situation is slightly different, of course, but I give the example just to show -- it's so much easier on everyone, especially the child, either to wait to start K or even to repeat K than to move a child on and possibly end up repeating a grade later, or struggling with tough early elementary years. Your son likely would be just fine in K, but if you have this chance -- why not look at it as an opportunity to have more time with him yourself while still giving him the benefit or more time to be utterly happy and confident when he begins K? He is not going to have a stigma placed on him by starting a year later. Really.

I'd go with your mom and dad and husband on this one. Don't worry about his being somehow "labeled" if he waits a year. Many families do this for the child's benefit!

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I understand your concern.

Look at the individual needs of your son. He is young,small and a little immature. Nothing wrong with that. Some just catch up a little later. I was a kindergarten teacher before my kids were born. I now have 3 kids who have gone through kindergarten. The kindergarten of today is NOT like the kindergarten when we were growing up. The education system has "pushed down" grade levels. So kindergarten is more like our old first grade.

The expectations are very high. You sit, you are to be quiet and not touch or talk to your neighbor. I could hear a pin drop in all 3 of my kids' kindergarten classes during the day. They are expected to come in with simple skills of reading,writing and math. Those that aren't there yet get behind quickly if parents are not heavily working with them. This can be a lot of pressure for a more emotionally and socially immature child.

I am on board with your husband. And, doon't look at it that you are holding him back. Take the year to make sure he has a strong foundation...and some more meat on his bones, to then have a very positive and strong start next Fall. I don't think I have ever seen it go bad when a parent holds out a year...but I have seen plenty on the opposite side...too young to start.

Our oldest son missed the old California cut off of Dec 2. Birthdate is Dec 6th. I think it really was a blessing in disguise because although he was very academically ready, and taller than all kids his age or even older..he was not ready to sit and be quiet and hold a pencil doing endless worksheets. He is a more busy and impulsive boy..he needed to mature in that area a little.

Good luck and best wishes!!

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OUr cut off date in WA is August 31. My son's birthday is September 1. sigh.
I really struggled with deciding whether to have him start "early" (one day!) or have him wait the whole year.
We decided to wait. BEST DECISION EVER. My son, like yours, is very bright, was reading before he started in school, knew his letters and numbers (in English and Spanish), and is very well behaved. He is also very tall.
I was worried, like you, that he would be behind and maybe judged cuz he was so big. Well, the first day of school he came home and told me he had 3 year olds in his class because they were so small! I was worried! But, it all worked out in the end.
In fact, his class was made up of kids that were mostly July-November birthdays. Almost all of the parents had made the same decision. His class was all 6 years old by December.
I highly advise waiting that year and letting your son be the oldest, biggest, smartest. Especially think about Jr. High and High School. When all of the other kids in his class are starting to talk about girls, get learners permits, he is going to be one year behind them. I wanted my kids (my other son is Sept. 19th!) to be the ones doing the cool things first.
I think you should wait.

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Never heard of a May birthday being an issue. It is for Sep to Dec birthdays. My son was born in November and was clearly not ready for pre-school at 3 so I kept him back a year and it worked out very well. He did great the following year. All the teachers strongly recommended he be held back.

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My son (NY) is born November 30. We redshirted him, because we decided we'd rather have him be the oldest (biggest) in his grade than the youngest - not so much NOW as in middle and high school. He is not the only one, and is not the oldest in his grade, and there are quite a few girls older than he is also. And, I can still walk into his classroom in fourth grade and tell which ones are older.
That being said, your son is a good four months older than the cut off date. I would have no problem sending him to school, as long as the maturity (confidence) is there. Not just academic maturity, but personal maturity as well.
I was the youngest in my class (pushed ahead in first grade). It wasn't a problem in elementary school. Looking back, however, by the time I reached high school and (more especially) college, I don't think I had the emotional maturity that I would have had a year later.

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NY here (with snow coming tomorrow!). We have the 12/1 cutoff in our district and my son is a mid-November birthday. I decided very early on that I would probably wait the extra year to send him to Kindergarten. Nursery school confirmed it for me, when he had lots of trouble with transitions and sitting still for circle time. He went to pre-K last year, although he would have qualified for Kindergarten, and he started Kindergarten this past fall, just before turning 6. A LOT of the kids in his class turned 6 this past winter, so while I think my son is the oldest, he is not by much.

So far, I would say that it was a great decision for us. He is really thriving in Kindergarten and in the past few weeks reading has suddenly become a snap for him. If he had gone last year, reading would have been a real struggle (writing too) and I probably would have had to hire a private tutor.

Each kid is different, but keep in mind that a number of parents are "red-shirting" these days. I guess your best bet would be to ask the opinion of your son's current Pre-K teachers and see what they think.

1 mom found this helpful

My twin boys have late May birthdays (and are former preemies who were supposed to be born in August) and I struggled with that question! Only because so many people are doing it now. One of our sons was very ready although he is TINY (36 lbs.) and is the best reader in his class. The other son has mild special needs so was "ready" in the sense that he needed services through the school district! We decided against holding them back. I honestly think the cutoff date should be the same everywhere and it should be honored. I definitely think New York's is way too late though. I think if you turn 5 before Kindergarten starts you should go. Four seems too young except in special circumstances.

my fiances birthday is the day after mine, we r both septmber, cut off was october first.. back then they had everyone whos birthdays were from july-december go in and do an evaluation to see wether they should start or not.. i started that year.. he started the year later.. so even though he is 3 years older than i am he was only 2 grades above me in school.. didnt really effect either of us .. the only real issue with it (considering we were both evaluated as- "if you want to start them thsi year you can") was when it came time to get our drivers licenses.. he was the first in his class to get his and i was almost the very last person to get mine, kinda crappy on both ends lol
-- if you ask his mother.. she says thank god she didnt start him.. that she just knew he wasnt really ready and he definatley was not, he was an extrememly bright kid and ended up being bored alot in school because he was so smart but maturity wise she said there was no way he wouldve been ready - and he was a big kid.. in his 6thgrade grad. photo hes like 6inches taller than everyone else lol .. i feel like if you honestly believe that he is 100% ready for kindergaten then start him, but if you have any doubts at all dont.. Obviously the schools hes been tested at dont think hes quite ready and neither does your husband

I think it has more to do with maturity and the social ramifications of being emotionally or socially immature that can happen when a kid starts school too soon.

DD is an April baby and she started K when she was 5. Some kids start when they're 4 about to be 5, already 5, or 5 soon to be 6. I don't even remember wondering why a kid was older or younger than me when I was in school. DD has never questioned it. I don't think age differences are that big of a deal, as long as the kid is emotionally ready and mature enough to attend real school.

I think it can work with some kids, but I would caution against seeing it as a cure-all. I know four kids who were red-shirted in some capacity or other, and only one is really doing well. Super-brief profiles below:

When my cousin (who is now in her 20s) was in kindergarten, they recommended she repeat K because she was shy and quiet. They wanted to give her some time to mature. Worst possible thing for her. She went from being naturally shy and quiet to being naturally shy and quiet AND deeply ashamed of having been "left back" AND being convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was dumb. She's a lovely person and is doing well now, but this decision robbed her of a lot of childhood happiness.

I also know three kids my son's age:

One is very gifted in math, but is also dyslexic and has always had behavior and impulse-control issues. He's right on the cutoff age-wise, so redshirting seemed like a logical step. The result is that he's wildly ahead of his class in math, bored to death in the one area that interests him, and just a poorly behaved kid who is also the tallest and largest in the class. This does not set him up well for getting along with the teachers.

Another is also gifted and super-creative and just has so much energy he can't contain himself. They wanted to give him an extra year to learn to sit in his seat. Result? He's in K, reading at a 2nd-grade level, and even more restless because he's not learning anything. As with the kid above, if he'd started younger, he would have been more engaged by the material. This one really, really tries to listen and be a good kid, but it's like, an hour before the end of every school day, he just goes on this frustration bender or something and winds up in the principal's office.

The fourth is a girl who was red-shirted for reasons that are a mystery to me. She's a sweet, lovely kid, really popular in the class, doing well in all academics, but she's not way ahead like the boys I describe above. She's just at the perfect point for success.

Friend is red shirting her son who is a little younger than my DD and right on the edge of the cutoff. He has been in preschool 2 years now and his teachers report that he is a "young 4" and encouraged them to consider it so he can mature a little more, even though he's terrifically bright. OTOH, while DD doesn't know her times tables yet (I told you the kid was bright), her teachers have not expressed any concerns with her ability to go to K and flourish. Her big sister was 1 week older than DD will be and did fine. Their big brother is a Dec. baby and stayed back til he was almost 6. He also did fine.

If you think he might fall behind later, then delay K. It is much harder when people know what grade you're "supposed" to be in.

I think especially if he would not be the only boy with a similar birthday that is older, I would put him in another year of preschool or maybe a pre-K program. I would hold him back due to maturity, not just size. My DD is not the biggest, nor the smallest. If he's a small boy, he may be a small man and just has to deal with that.

First of all, why would you be explaining his age to anyone? It is really none of their concern.
Secondly, there can be a gap between social and intellectual development. We tend to view the second as key to good school performance, but really the social skills are more important - and harder to learn. So I would see starting him later not as a comment on how bright he is, but as a way to give him a chance to mature in his social interactions that will help him be successful in school. But utimately you and your husband are the experts here and you are in the best position to make that decision - just try not to see it as some sort of judgement on his intelligence.
As a personal aside, I am a September baby and was always the youngest in my class. I loved it and would have been bored to death if my parents had decided to wait to enroll in kindergarten. But I am also a girl, of course.

Honestly, I think the kids who are the oldest in the class have a huge advantage compared to the younger ones. My daughter is a May birthday and I thought that would be in the middle, but she sure seems young compared to the fall bdays. She's doing fine, but there have been occasions when I think she would have benefitted from a little more maturity and experience.

My son is one of the oldest and I was worried that he would be a little too ahead of the curve, but the teacher is challenging him at school with some extra expectations and we do the same at home. So, he's learning and has the advantage of being very comfortable in the classroom with academics as well as socially. I almost petitioned to get him in to Kinder a year earlier and I'm glad we have him where he is now.

Between the parents it's no big deal. Even with my child who is technically in the correct grade for his birthday, I have had only one parent ask if I redshirted him, since he's a tall kid on the soccer field.

My son is a June 15 birthday. He is very smart kid. However he was not mature enough for kindergarten. The 1st week of school we were in the principals office. I wanted to pull him out, and I think I should of.

His teacher was a free spirit teacher. The grandmother type that loves the kids so much, that she didn't have a follow the directions "or else" bone in her body. So I loved her as a person, but not the right fit for my inmature, push the limits kid.

At 6 week PTC I thought if he is not learning we are pulling him out. Well he was smart, he was passing every requirment. We struggled all year, at the end of the year I called for a meeting with the principal.

I said I like you, but I don't want to have to see you this much in 1st grade as we did in kindergarten. So she helped place my son in a right personality type for him. She is so wonderful I love all the hard work she has done for him. She says you do this, or you dont get that. She sets high expectations for her students with care, and they thrive in her classroom.

My thoughts are that you talk with school and share your concerns and see if you can get the right personality type for your child if you want him to go to kindergarten this fall.

Good luck to you.

We did it at age 5 (a summer birthday) and it was rough. I would not do it again until age 6. It's half-day, but still it was just too much, too soon.

Redshirting in kindergarten is one of my biggest pet peeves. If the child is ready, let him go into kindergarten. If he isn't ready, then hold him back. Each child is dfferent and the idea that boys mature slower is not all that noticable until puberty. (One of the school secretaries gave me that line, that boys mature slower and should be held back.) Children are like sponges when it comes to learning and the newer the sponge, the more it can absorb. The younger they are the quicker they learn. It's been proven with foreign languages. It's just that the school systems in the U.S. don't capitolize on the speed they learn like other countries do. The other thing I thought, but my wonderful boy proved otherwise, is that they would be behind in sports/gym. Not my kid and I really think part of it is his kung fu teacher's fault. She's the one that limbered him up and convinced him he could do anything. So here's my DS's story:

My DS is very smart...We tought and everyone he'd meet told us the same thing. Even strangers though he was older than he really was. He started talking at 3 mo...He walked like a 2 yro when he was 15 mo and sang all kinds of songs when he went shopping with me...He taught his daycare teachers all about science and animals at 18 mo...He spelled his name at 2 yro...He wrote his name foward and in mirror writing style at 3 yro...Then came the drawing...By the time he reached 4 yro, we ran out of things to occupy his brain...He really needed to go to school, just like I did when I was 4. Unfortunately, he missed the cut-off by 21 days! The public school flat out refused him, so I looked up the laws in our state. I discovered that I couldnt' do anything about public school, since it's controled by the school board. I could with private school. Our state says that children can start kindergarten at 4.0 yrs of age unless the school board decides otherwise. So I took him to our local catholic school and had them test him with the understanding that if he didn't pass, I would quitely back off. Yep, he passed with flying colors. They stopped when they discovered he was at least 1 year ahead, because that meant they had to take him. They said if they didn't, he'd get bored and be more of a problem. So my boy started school early. He had no problem making friends, just an occational arguement usually ending with a parent calling me up and telling me what he said in response to what their child said. He took kung fu when he was in the second half of kindergarten and flew through all the forms. His 1st grade teacher loved to watch him draw his toys and couldn't figure out how a 5 yro could draw like a 16 yro. Everything was fine until 5th grade....The school was going to pass him without any problem, but he told us he was bored! Our straight "A" student was bored??? We had him tested again and this time the IQ test came out high and the guidance counselor and the middle school principal wanted him to skip 2 more grades! DH was happy. The high school principal and I were a little scared, so we all agreed to skip him just 1 grade. DS was happy. DS is now a sophmore in high school and has more friends than if he would have remained with the other class. He identifys with the older kids better and is still a straight "A" student. He's even in band, film club, and latin club. He just doesn't like sports; even though, he aces gym too. So it was a very possitive experience.

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