5 Reasons Not to Delay Your Child's Enrollment in School

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), about 10% of kindergarten-age children are delayed entry into school by their parents, a practice known as 'redshirting'. Many believe that children whose birthdays are close to the 'cut-off' age may be too young to begin kindergarten and are better off waiting a year. But is delaying enrollment into school always the smart thing to do? Following are a few reasons to say no.

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kindergarten redshirting

1. Lack of Statistical Support

Numerous studies have shown that there are really no educational benefits to delaying a child from starting kindergarten. Don't be fooled by those studies that suggest that older children tend to do better in kindergarten; while it's true that older kids may perform better when tested, the results are thought to be only age-related and any apparent advantages seem to disappear by about third grade. So, there appears to be no long-term positive academic effects on waiting a year to start your child in school.

2. School Can Be Helpful, Not Detrimental

Many parents cite undeveloped emotional and cognitive skills as reasons for delaying their child. But school can wind up being exactly where these children need to be. Some experts suggest that being around other kids can help to more quickly develop these skills. Also, schools have resources to assist children in getting up to speed in areas where they might be lacking.

3. Take Advantage of the 'Growing Years'

The first six years of a child's life, the 'formative years', are most important. Brain development is at its greatest during these years. By waiting to enroll your child until they are six rather than five, you could actually be losing a crucial year in which they would have greatly benefited from an academic setting.

4. Consider Adverse Effects of Starting School Later

Some studies have concluded that children who begin kindergarten later have less motivation and overall lower academic performance as high school students. It has also been found that 'redshirted' students have a greater chance, however slight, of dropping out of high school than those who started school on time. Over their lifetime, children who are delayed entry into kindergarten are not found to be more successful or better achievers than those who are not delayed.

5. What Are Viable (and Affordable) Alternatives?

If your child is in daycare, do you have the financial means to pay for another year of care? According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, the cost to care for a 4-year-old in a daycare center rose by 1.5% between 2009 and 2010. And if your child staying home another year means that you will as well, rather than going to work, then that too could have an economical impact. It's something to consider if you're thinking about delaying your child's enrollment in kindergarten for another year.

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