When you have a baby, you don't really give much thought to what day they're born on. Sure, some parents may try to conceive at a certain time to have a certain birthday. Other parents may choose to be induced close to their due date so their little one arrives in a specific day. But generally speaking, your baby is going to be born on whatever day they're born on! It isn't until they're older and getting ready to start school that parents begin to realize just how important the actual date can be. If you've got kids in school, then you're probably familiar with school cut-off dates. This is the date that a child has to turn a certain age in order to be enrolled in school. T
hey vary from state to state, but as an example, if a state has a cut-off date of November 1 to start kindergarten, that means your child has to turn 5 by that date. But since schools typically start in August, that also means that your little one will be in a classroom full of 5-6 year olds when they're still 4. It's concerning to a lot of parents! Now, researchers are suggesting that kids who enter school younger than their peers are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Parents, this is an important study to consider.
The study was led by researchers at Harvard Medical School. The research team looked at records of more than 407,000 students enrolled in school with a September 1 cut-off date. The children we all elementary school-aged, and were born between 2007 and 2009. Researchers followed up the kids until the end of 2015. They found that children born in August in school districts with a September 1 cut-off date had a 30% higher chance of being diagnosed with ADHD.
With a September 1 cut-off date, a child born August 31 would be almost an entire year younger than some of their classmates and peers. This can translate to pretty major differences in behavior. A 6-year-old may still have a harder time concentrating or sitting still, whereas a 7-year-old may have more developed skills. By the way, that's totally normal behavior for a 6-year-old! But when compared to others in a peer setting like a classroom, it can seem abnormal, which can lead to a medical referral, and eventually diagnosis of ADHD.
It's so tricky, because we want our kids to start school when they're ready and able, but the arbitrary cut-off dates in some states to put some kids at a disadvantage. Definitely something to think about when it comes time to enroll your kids in school.