Is It Better to Redshirt Kids with Late Birthdays

Updated on March 02, 2014
S.T. asks from Paterson, NJ
30 answers

September through December.

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answers from Kansas City on

Totally depends on the child. I would do some research to the pros/cons and consult his preschool teacher.



answers from Washington DC on

Aug - Sept. birthdays might be redshirted, but Oct - Dec. don't make the cutoffs here, so they are automatically held until next Sept.


answers from Iowa City on

I personally think that anything after mid September should wait to until the following school year. My kids' district offers begindergarten so kids can have something a little more intense than preschool but not quite kindergarten.

All that said, it really depends on the child. My daughter has a summer birthday so she was offered begindergarten or kindergarten. We discussed it with her preschool teacher and decided on kindergarten. I am so glad we did because now, in first grade, she is so far ahead of grade level as is that I can't imagine having her be in kindergarten at present.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

The current research shows NO benefit (academically or socially) to holding kids back. There is a benefit to the younger kids of having older kids in the classroom. Younger kids learn faster when there are kids older than them but there are no benefits to the younger kids. My son has a late December birthday and we have a September cut off so we had no choice but to send him when he was almost 6. I would much rather we had a December cutoff like when I was growing up.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Yes, it is better. An extra year of maturity is a good thing.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Well, I don't know about New Jersey, but in Illinois the child must be 5 by September 1 in order to attend kindergarten. My son had a late July birthday (and a due date of Aug 18, so he was born a bit early), and we did choose to redshirt him. It was the right decision in our case, but there are plenty of kids with summer birthdays who are more than ready for kindergarten when they turn 5.

If the child just barely makes the cutoff for kindergarten it can be a good idea to wait an extra year for kindergarten. Depends on the kid.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Reading on

Depends on the kid's development and the school start date. Our cut off is September, so that wouldn't be a late birthday, that would be when the new grade starts. Our son had a late July birthday so he was late, making him very young for his grade. Developmentally, he wasn't ready to be a kindergartener, as both his parents and three preschool teachers agreed. Redshirting, in my opinion, has a very negative connotation because it suggests people do it to give their kids an unfair advantage over others. Those of us who have done it did it because our kids weren't ready, and the people I know who sent their kids too early are still paying the price in 4th grade! The bottom line is you do what is right for that child and there is no black and white answer.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

In our school system children start kindergarten the year in which they turn five (December 31st cut off), so the kids born September through December are four when they start school. Redshirting is not done here. Some kids are more or less mature than the other kids in kindergarten, and it isn't necessarily due to age. Kindergarten is to help them mature and prepare them for grade one.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

It should not be based, on "when" a child is born.
There are other factors to consider. ie: maturity, ability to be in a classroom and behavior, social skills, etc.
has the child had preschool experience, as well?

Both my kids are late born. I have a boy and girl. Both very different individuals. One had preschool for 1 year. The other had preschool for only 6 months. BOTH went to Kindergarten (per my State's age cut offs at the time), and entered Kindergarten at 4, then turned 5. Their other classmates, were as well. The "older" aged Kindergarten kids, were the minority. When my kids were in Kindergarten.
Both my kids, were ready, for Kindergarten. And they did fine. All around.
They are now older, and are still, fine. All around. Academically and developmentally.

I work at a school, as well. Elementary. Everyday, and every year, I see kids who were held back or entered into Kindergarten, when older. But you NEED to find out, what your State's age cut offs are, for entry into Kindergarten. So, talk to your kid's school and find that out.

Again, I see kids at school, who were held back. Mostly boys for some reason. However, for these kids, I do NOT see, any "improvement" in them. Socially or academically. However, physically... they are older and LOOK, older than their other classmates who entered Kindergarten at the usual age. These kids are physically taller/bigger/look older.
So, that is something to consider.
I also see, some kids who were held back... thus they are among the oldest in the class and grade level... but they, regress. Being around "younger" kids. And they become or are still, quite immature and in behavior. And there is no improvement.

Again, it is NOT about "when" a kid was born, to then decide when, to enter your kid into Kindergarten. And you have to know what that school's rules are, per age entry into school, and if you want your kid to be the "oldest" in a class. Which is not always, the ideal.

SOME schools, will have a "Jr.K" or "PreK" classroom. This is for the LATE born kids, December born for example, and for kids that are more immature. My kids' public school, has that. For now.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Where I live, the cut off for K is 09/01. My son has a mid August birthday. He will turn 5 this August, and start K. I have some misgivings about him being one of the youngest, but I've done a lot of research that red-shirting backfires, so as of right now, I plan to send him to K this fall.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I am not sure what you mean by redshirt kids. Where I live the cut off date is 9/1 meaning the child must be 5 by that date to start school. I have 2 kids and 1 is a November birthday and 1 is a July birthday. Both started school when they were 5. My biggest issue I have is that when my oldest gets to high school she will be one of the first to get her license and she will also turn 18 at the start of her senior year. My youngest has no problems with being one of the youngest in her class. You really need to know if your kid is ready for school and also their age in high school. Do you really want your kid to get their license in 10th grade instead of 11th? Do you want them to be 18 before starting 12th grade? These are all things to consider before holding your child back a year just because you feel that they are to young. If they are within the cutoff date then your child will be fine. The teachers know how to teach them what they need to know. Also don't feel that your kid needs to know their alphabet, write all of their letters or count to 100. That is what kindergarten is for. That is what they teach the kids there.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Kids should be 5 years old by the first day of Kindergarten so that when they start their senior year of high school they'll be 17 and turn 18 during that year. It is very hard for a 17 year old to go out and start college when they aren't legally an adult yet. Also if they're 19 when they graduate you'll be lucky they stay in school. I've seen quite a few kids who are 18 when they start that senior year and they're dropped out by Christmas. They are adults so they want to move on, get started with their lives.

So, depending on when the cut off is for your state and when your child's birthday is I'd suggest they start with the kids their age whether they're an older 4 year old turning 5 right after school starts or they are a summer birthday and seem a young 5.

They need to go to school with their peers. If the other kids are the same age it's better. There will be others who have the same deal going on.

According to what I googled it said sometime in the fall they had to be 5. So if your kiddo is turning 5 before December then they need to start school with the kids the same age. It's not fair to them to put them with little bitty kids next year. They'll feel badly, not very smart, because they'll be with the little kids.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

I think it TOTALLY depends on the maturity of the child.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

It really all depends on the kid. My son who was born Sept 19 was ready socially for K at 4 turning 5, but we waited and I am glad we did. He may be the oldest in his class, but that is no big deal.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

It depends on the kid.
Some are ready and some are not.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

we should just recycle our answers, since this seems to be the question du jour.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

We faced this question with our middle son, who is now a college freshman. To help make the decision, I attended a workshop on kindergarten readiness, which included a handout listing traits indicating readiness or not. A key trait listed was attention span. I knew from my son's preschool teachers that he was able to sit and listen for 15 minutes or so at a time, considered a good attention span for a 4 year old. He also had almost all of the other traits (the only ones he did not related to his age and gender), so we sent him. He has been fine, was a national merit scholar and debater in high school, and so far is doing well in college. He had a good friend a year older who also did fine.



answers from Las Vegas on

I think it depends upon the child. My son, a November baby was allowed to attend Kinder and he did quite well. By the time he went to Kinder, he was academically ready and we also felt, emotionally.. However, when we did send him, we did knowing that IF for some reason it wasn't a good fit, we would remove him. Turns out, we never had to do that ..
you could do it , see how it goes and if you don't like what you see.. pull your child, if that is who this question is for..

good luck



answers from New York on

My son is a may birthday and for him, he was too young and not ready. Same with my little brother.



answers from Las Vegas on

For the most part, our schools dictate the grade the child should be in. I realize, the bottom line is the law, but they have guidelines that they encourage.

I have an October baby. While I think she may have been ready in her skills, she was still very sensitive and immature. My point is that you have to look at everything when trying to place them in school a little early. On the other hand, you don't want them to complain the entire time if they go in later. Can you talk it over with a school advisor?

She is 8 and in second grade. She is already a big kid, so she looks older, on top of her late birthday.



answers from Los Angeles on

I don't believe in holding most kids back and I find it very annoying how many people do hold their kids these days. If your child makes the cutoff date, they should go to school. Being young and being small are not good reasons to delay, in my opinion. Even if they seem immature in kindergarten and first grade, everything will even out by second or third.

It's OK for some kids to be immature. It's OK for some kids to be small. It's OK for some kids to be followers or to be shy or to be quiet. We can't all be leaders or the world would be a disaster. Most kids who are small will still be small even if they wait a year. I could have waited two or three years and still been among the smallest in my grade (I have an early August birthday).

Most actual studies show that redshirting has little to no benefit, especially by third grade. Parents may tell you it was the right decision, but that is just because their kid is succeeding where they are - it doesn't mean they would have failed if they had started when they were supposed to.

"Ready" for kindergarten typically means the following: can follow directions, can sit still during group times without being a major distraction, can write your name, can ask for help when needed. "Ready" does NOT mean being able to read, write all your letters or even know all the letters and their sounds. Also, "mature" is a pretty ridiculous term to use for these kids. The vast majority of 4-6 year olds are immature because they are children! They are supposed to be immature. Any child that goes to a year or two of preschool and meets their age cutoff is ready for kinder.

I do think there are some cases when holding a child back is warranted, but they are rare. Kids with special needs or those with significant motor or speech delays may also benefit from waiting.

I also don't think of September as a late birthday since they will have their birthday very close to the start of school.

My daughter has a late October birthday. When she was born, my state had a December 2 cutoff. I absolutely would have sent her. However, our cutoff has since been changed to September 2 and I'm now forced to keep her back. I think kindergarten is designed for five year olds and I worry that my daughter will be bored since she'll turn six shortly after school starts.

Someone has to be the youngest. As the cutoffs move earlier in the school year, it's just causing more parents to hold their kids. It is insane to me that a child born in June or July (and I've even heard of some in May!) doesn't go to kindergarten when they are five years old.



answers from Denver on

Not sure I understand why you wrote Sept-Dec. Those aren't the kids that typically get "red-shirted" Those are already going to be the oldest in the class?
Cut-offs for most areas are between July and October. Most kids who are "held back" have a birthday between March and whatever your area's cut off is.
For instance, our school district's cut-off is Aug 1. I have a child who will be 5 in May. We are holding him back, bc he will be one of the very youngest if we don't, or he could be one of the older ones if we do. I can't imagine holding back a kid who was born in the later part of the year, because that isn't a few months difference, that's an entire year's difference.



answers from Santa Barbara on

It does depend on the child. I have heard old school teachers (retired many years ago) say 'Hold the boys with a bday after Sept and hold the girls after Oct 30th as a general rule.'

The curriculum is quite different today from 10+ years ago. Some parents with kids who are spread out in age have noticed the things being taught in Kindergarten today used to be taught in first grade.

CA took the choice away (kind of). They changed the cut off from Dec 2nd to Sept 2nd. I say 'kind of' because now kids who have an April b-day are being red-shirted. So there are 7 year olds in Kindergarten and the 4 year olds have been erased.

CA was competing with FL and TX (the other large population states) and they realize one way to even the competition was to change the cut off of when children can enter K.

Years ago )1970's thru 1990's) 14 states had late cut off dates (age 4 going on 5 after Nov 30th) and by 2004 only 5 states did. Out of these 5 states: CA has changed from Dec 2nd to Sept 2nd, Connecticut is trying to change their cut off to get rid of the young kids, Montana has changed to Sept (from Dec), North Dakota has changed theirs to August, Starting this year in Hawaii children must turn 5 before July 31st. There are some states that let the districts decide. I think New York and New Jersey have a Nov 30th cut off.

The real issue is the kids from families who are not able to educate their preschool aged children. Many of these kids spend their first 5 years of life with little preparation for school. I am not one who considers rote memory preparation rather real hands on experiments. Learning how to measure in the kitchen to taking turns with others.

So please realize some of the post below come from people with older kids and do not realize things are changing.



answers from Rochester on

Back in January there were a couple of threads about red-shirting for kindergarten. Go to my profile and look at my answers to questions. You will have to go back a couple of pages to find my responses (and all the other too). I answered from a teacher and parent of late birthday kids. I'd answer again but I'm recovering from some sedation for a medical procedure and not thinking quite straight yet.



answers from Detroit on

Depends on kid. The kid must be mature. Have an attention span be confident enough to talk to teacher and other adults...kid should be able to button zip and snap...should be independent in bathroom.

Kid should be able to write cut and color.. know basic facts letters numbers colors...

Ask preschool teacher is she thinks kid is ready.. but if you have doubts sign up and see where the child is in sept. School doesnt start for 6 more months dont decide now.



answers from Seattle on

I'm not sure what you're referring to is actually called redshirting. Most school districts that I know about, including the one I live in have a cut off date of August 31 or Sept 1, so kids with birthdays in September through December aren't redshirted. They would be allowed to start kindergarten when they are 4 because they have missed the cut off date.

They will be older than kids in their class by bring 5 when they start kindergarten, and then turn 6 almost immediately.



answers from New York on

S., like you, our cutoff date is December. My kids are both June birthdays, so there was never any question about holding them back. In general, I am not a big fan of doing so, but never had to consider that with my own kids, whose birthdays were right at the halfway mark. I don't consider being the oldest to be an automatic benefit to being the youngest, but of course, not everyone can be right in the middle like my kids were
Good luck with your decision.



answers from Portland on

This would depend so much on the child and on the learning environment. No easy yes or no answers, unfortunately. I hope that whatever you decide works well for your family.



answers from Atlanta on

I am another vote for 'depends on the child.' Our daughter has a late July birthday, and the cutoff date for enrolling in kindergarten at her school is Aug. 1. After the first year of preschool, we decided to give her an extra year in preschool because she was shy and generally didn't seem ready to move on. She has moved through the preschool and early elementary school grades at the usual rate, which means she is almost a year older than the other kids in her grade. She does resent that she has been 'held back' academically, however she really did need the extra time to mature socially, and physically she is average size compared to her classmates. I still think we did the right thing for HER. Only you and your child's teachers can decide what is right for your situation.



answers from Boston on

Our cut-off is Sept 1 a d my son's b'day is in August...So he was one of the youngest, but not the youngest...he was fine...Does your district do a kindergarten screening of sorts? What do his preschool teachers think?
On a side note:One of the moms in my son's preschool, decided to keep her July baby back because he was too close to the cut-off and some "crazy" article she read somewhere and was adamant I do the same with mine...Altho it may have been the right thing for her child (or not), I'm glad I didn't heed her advice....He would have been bored silly if he did another year of preschool just so he could have been the oldest and it would have been a total disservice to him.; he's an honor roll student in middle school...Good luck

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