Because most kindergarten cutoff dates are in September, if your child was born in the early fall they are likely to be the oldest in their class. And for many parents, this is already seen as a huge advantage-especially for future athletes, who will be more physically developed than most kids in their grade. But a recent study has found starting school at a later age can also contribute to a child's success outside of sports practice too.
The National Bureau of Economic Research looked at data from Florida and found "a positive relationship between school starting age and children's cognitive development from age 6 to 15." It also concluded that starting school at an older age increases children's college attainment and reduces the likelihood of incarceration for juvenile crimes.
This obviously doesn't mean your child's going to be the next president just because they're in September, but it does mean they will likely be starting school at an older age than, say, a child born in August. That small factor alone can positively impact their academic experience. For example, a teacher might equate a student's physical maturity with their intellectual ability and challenge your child more than the younger students in class.
The study also looked at the tendency for more affluent families to "redshirt" their children, or delay their school start date, to give them a competitive advantage. It found that children of families that are unable to wait to send their children to school-because of a lack of awareness or resources-are often held back in the school system anyway, repeating kindergarten at an older age. Interestingly enough, whether a child was redshirted or held back in school, they ended up at roughly the same educational levels regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds.
What does this mean for parents? Sending your child to school at a later age can be beneficial to their success. If you happened to have a baby in September, your child could naturally have a leg up (Yay!). And if you've read this and are now worrying about your summer baby, keep in mind that every child is unique; there are many other factors that contribute to their happiness and success, so just focus on doing what's best for your little one.
(h/t Real Simple)
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