“Redshirting” — the idea that parents might want to hold their children back a grade to put them on a path towards academic success — has been a hot topic as of late. So researchers crunched some numbers on this phenomenon and looked specifically into whether holding kids back could benefit their emotional well-being. The verdict: Waiting an extra year to start kindergarten has multiple benefits for kids, not the least of which is that they’ll smash their lesser developed classmates at kickball.
Stanford University researchers and the Danish National Centre for Social Research examined data on kids who were included in the Danish National Birth Cohort Survey. This survey asked nearly 36,000 mothers a series of questions about their child’s schooling, physical health, behavior, and mental health when their kid was 7 and then again at age 11. Researchers found that, when compared to kids who started kindergarten at age 5, kids who started at age 6 showed significantly improved self-regulation by age 7, and the benefits largely continued all the way until age 11. Specifically, late starters showed far fewer problems with inattentiveness and hyperactivity.
Late starters showed far fewer problems with inattentiveness and hyperactivity.
Scientists suspect the extra year of free playtime is to thanks for helping kids get their sillies out. When kids can gaze at the playground outside of classrooms with a “been there done that” mentality, the rigidity of school seems easier to stomach. The Huffington Post reports that, although redshirting has been connected to improved self-regulation, creativity, and reasoning, other studies claim the results decrease over time and even show a negative long-term impact on educational attainment for kids of lower-income families. Smart money says this has something to do with the the extra year of outrageous preschool costs eating into college savings. Get it? Smart money?