Redshirting My 5 Year Old

Some of you will read this title and think it is sports related, some of you will wonder why this is a post about wearing a red shirt!

But this is actually about why I decided not to send my five year old son to kindergarten.

The term for this has been dubbed “redshirting”. Coming from the collegiate sports world, basically meaning the freshman team members do not play, but do not lose a year of play.

Where does this tie in to kindergarten?

Let’s say the deadline for kindergarten is August 1st. Your little darling turned five on July 28th, great, they made the cut off! You are so excited for them to start school, until you realize all the other classmates turned five in May, or January, and some even in August the previous year, meaning they are almost six.

This means your barely five year old is going to be in class with peers mostly older than them.

Why is this a big deal?

Maybe it’s not. But maybe it is.

Let’s take a closer look….

You are probably thinking along the same lines I did. My son is smart, he’s not immature for his age, he loves making friends. So he’s ready for school right? I thought so, until my husband and I started doing a little research on the LONG TERM effects of starting kindergarten at an early five.

My biggest concern was adolescence age. There is a pretty big difference in maturity between ages thirteen and fourteen, or fourteen and fifteen. And that’s when kids are noticing differences in each other, they are getting serious about sports, growing up so fast.

An article from Cult Of Pedagogy followed a study by Dr. Suzanne Jones who evaluated 55 families with adolescent boys that were born during the summer. 30 of those families chose to “redshirt” their sons, while 25 chose to go ahead and send the boys into kindergarten. Dr. Jones then chose 20 of those families to interview to see how it effected the boys. On the Life Satisfaction Scale, the redshirted boys showed higher levels of life satisfaction than the boys who were not redshirted.

Jones said “The non-redshirted students went on and on with their responses. It went from, of course, there’s the bigger, stronger, more mature aspect they wished they had. The locker-room kind of atmosphere. Some of them mentioned girls—the older kids got the girls. Some of them mentioned, ‘I’m always trying to keep up.’” Jones then said about the redshirted students “They loved it, liked being older, no problem with it, can’t think of any way it’s hurt, it’s only helped.”

When Dr. Jones spoke with the parents, the parents who had redshirted their sons said they would absolutely do it again, while the parents who chose not to redshirt, 7 out of 10 of them said they wished they had, and they would in the future.

This was a truly eye opening topic for me, because I had never even considered how it would be long term. My son would be a very young 18 when he started college, more likely to become a follower to the older kids. But since we are red shirting, he will be 18 during his senior year of high school and turn 19 before college starts, with more confidence and life satisfaction that will hopefully help him become a leader in his group of peers.

Given this information, we decided it was best for us to wait. This isn’t the case for every kid, but I wanted to share with you the reasons why I think it is a good idea.

Please leave a comment with your thoughts!

Did you redshirt your child? How was the outcome of your decision ? I’m anxious to know!

Link to Cult Of Pedagogy article :


Live Life Big!

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