School Readiness and Academic Redshirting

If your child was born in the summer months, you may have heard of “academic redshirting.” Academic redshirting is a term that has become popular to describe delaying your child’s kindergarten start time. While there are no “rules,” this delay usually occurs when a child’s birthday falls between May and September.

Reasons for Academic Redshirting

There are many factors that come to mind when a parent is considering delaying a child’s start time. The most common factors to consider are readiness as it relates to:

  • Academics
  • Social and play skills
  • Emotional stability
  • Self care
  • Physical skills

It is important to keep in mind that while your child may be cognitively ready, he or she may be behind when it comes to social or emotional strengths, and vice versa. For instance, your child may have advanced reading skills, but perhaps he or she is still struggling when it comes to playtime and sharing. All aspects of the child’s life should be considered when deciding to delay.

Are others doing it?

Depending on the exact data, estimates of academically redshirted students in the U.S. falls between 3.5 to 5.5 percent of those eligible to enroll in kindergarten based on age. Over 70 perfect of redshirted children were born in the summer months, and boys are twice as common than girls to have a delayed start. Further, this redshirting typically occurs in more affluent areas, where the cost of an extra year of daycare or preschool may not be a problem.

Is it beneficial?

The pros and cons of delaying a child’s start time vary, but for the most part, there is no long-term effect. While there may be some immediate benefits at younger ages – perhaps having a slight academic advantage – these differences diminish as the child ages. Considering there are no obvious disadvantages, if you feel as though your child should be delayed, then do what is best for your son or daughter.

If you are considering academically redshirting your child, speak with your pediatrician. Your doctor can discuss milestones with you and aid in making the best decision for you and your family.