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Why I Didn't Redshirt My Kindergartner

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"Redshirting" a kindergartner -- in other words, holding her back a year -- has doubled in popularity as of late. But it wasn't the right choice for my daughter.

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Momlogic's Julie: This week, Newsweek asks: Should Children Redshirt Kindergarten?

This was a question that once weighed heavily on my mind. Our school district's birthday cut-off is December 1, and my daughter's birthday is a week before that. So I knew that sending her to kindergarten at 4 would mean that she would likely be the youngest in her class.

But my daughter had always done very well in preschool and was mature for her age. Plus, she was TALL. In fact, she towered over her class. By sending her to kindergarten a full year later, would she be some freak of nature, taller than most second-graders? That was a big fear.

I know that many say holding kids back is a good idea. If they're older and more mature, they'll do better in school, some say. But my instinct -- mother's intuition, if you will -- was telling me to send her at 4. So that's what I did.

She is going into first grade now, and I feel we made the right decision. She handled kindergarten beautifully and seems to be adjusting to first grade so far. And, yes, she is still the tallest girl in her class -- but not by much.

When it comes to redshirting, I think it's just a very individual decision -- one that can only be made on a case-by-case basis.

Did you redshirt your kindergartner? Why or why not?

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19 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jenny September 10, 2009, 10:32 AM

I think where you will see the difference between your daughter and the older children is around middle school. My mother sent me when I was four (my birthday is Dec 4th) and I wish she had held me back. Academically things were great, socially (mainly in Jr High and the first couple of years of high school) I was definitely behind my peers.

To each their own, as long as you make your decision based on what is best for your child and not yourself then no one can really fault you. I believe my mother just wanted to save money on daycare and did not have my best interest in mind.

Renee September 10, 2009, 10:37 AM

I was a 4 when I went to kindergarten. I was definately ready and always did well academically and socially. It’s about the individual child more than the age guidelines!
I do have to note that the article makes it seem like her height was more of a deciding factor than her development or maturity. To me that is a terrible reason to make such and important decision.

MarMar September 10, 2009, 12:22 PM

Look at it this way too: I started school when I was 4. (My birthday is in late October.) This meant that years later, I started college at the ripe old age of 17. Not having my license until junior year wasn’t a big deal, but being so young starting college did. I was so lost and confused and naive. The next year, I even met a new freshman who was older than me. I wish I could’ve gotten that extra year. (As an added bonus, I managed to get my bachelor’s degree in 3 years, meaning I finished college at 20 - and was completely lost as to what to do after that, was supposed to be an “adult” on my own and wasn’t even old enough to buy a beer.)

Renee September 10, 2009, 12:34 PM

Again, I think it depends on the individual. I started college at 17 and was very well prepared as were several of my friends who started at that age as well.

MarMar September 10, 2009, 1:20 PM

I was the first person in my family to attend college away from home too, and only the second to attend college at all, so that didn’t help…I suppose it does depend on the individual. I just know I wasn’t ready. I wanted to take a year off between the two but was not allowed to, as it was thought that I’d get “lazy” and not want to go back to school. I was pressured to be this whiz kid, though, so I think a lot of it too was for my parents’ bragging rights - she’s only 4 and in kindergarten! She’s 17 starting college! She has a bachelor’s at 20! She has good grades, so she’s ready! They never once realized that having good grades does not equal maturity nor readiness for the world. It just looked good to the neighbors. So like Jenny who commented before me, I don’t think my parents had my best interests in mind either.

jenny September 11, 2009, 5:04 AM

Same thing here MarMar, I wasn’t allowed a year off before college, I ended up rebelling and dropped out. I was definitely pressured to be an artist which I had a talent for but so much pressure caused me to stop doing anything artistic.

My daughter is 4 1/2 and I am have decided not to put her in until next year, she will be 5 1/2 and I think that will be an asset to her.

The Mad Mom September 11, 2009, 7:34 AM

I didn’t redshirt my son either - his birthday is December 15th and the cutoff here in NYC is December 31st — and I don’t regret it for a second.

He went to daycare/preschool since he was two, so he was already well accustomed to that type of group social situation. He could already read three letter words at that point, so I thought he’d just be bored if I left him back. And he wasn’t by any means the only December birthday in his class - he had four other kids to keep him company. I’m sure your daughter will have company as well.

He just started first grade, is on par with everyone else in his class and seems perfectly happy. He was actually psyched to go back to school.

Ultimately, I think as parents we vibe out the best situation for our kids. Congrats!

anonymos September 14, 2009, 7:22 AM

I started Kindergarten at 4, and college at 17 and I did great both academically and socially. I had just turned 21 when I graduated college and started my first full-time job. Not being ready for the real world by age 20 is your own fault, there are plenty of people who are mature adults and provide for themselves straight out of high school. Having a child so close to the cut-off age for school is a personal decision and should be based on how they compare to their peers academically and socially. If they’re barely potty trained and don’t know their ABCs like their classmates will, then keep them home and help them work on it.

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