'Redshirting' Your Child Could Negatively Affect Them, According To Science

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It’s a question that parents find themselves asking over and over again: should I redshirt my child before he or she enters Kindergarten? Do the benefits outweigh the advantages? And while many parents often debate this topic with other moms and dads, there are some experts who believe that redshirting your child might end up doing them more harm than good.

Academic redshirting is the practice where a five-year-old child's caretaker chooses not to enroll her – or more commonly, him – in kindergarten even though he is of appropriate age by the state's cut-off date for enrollment.The children who are redshirted are given a temporary delay in enrollment and thus are usually one year older than their peers when they do start kindergarten a year later than they should.

According to Romper, for a lot of families, this practice works out. Over 70 percent of redshirted children were born in the summer months, with many of these kids becoming the oldest in their class, rather than the youngest. In addition, redshirting usually happens in more affluent regions or schools. This is mostly because families who redshirt their children can afford one more year of daycare or an additional year of school tuition.

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But at the same time, education experts believe that redshirting might not be in every child’s best interest, especially if their age is the only factor in their parents’ decision to hold them back. For starters, it could delay a diagnosis in special need children. If you wait an additional year before enrolling your child into kindergarten, you might be potentially delaying an intervention in diagnosing issues like ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, and similar struggles.

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Credit: iStock / Steven_Kriemadis

Studies have proven that children who are redshirted are more likely to drop out of school later on in their academic careers. Apparently, the elevated dropout rate is due to the fact that these students are legally entitled to drop out or don’t still want to be in high school when they are 19 years old. There’s also a higher likelihood of dropping out of high school among males.

Also, many academic professionals agree that redshirting can make teaching kindergarten much more challenging. That’s because there’s a huge difference between a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old in terms of developmental educational aspects. As a result, this can make it more difficult for teachers to meet all students’ needs, especially when it comes to maturity and ability.

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