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The Benefits of Holding Back Children

More Parents Are Redshirting Their Children For Kindergarten

It turns out one of the toughest academic decision parents make may not be where to send their children to school, but when to send them. Lately, more parents are deciding to delay when their kids start kindergarten — also known as academic redshirting — thinking it puts their children at an advantage both in and out of the classroom. And to some extent, they are correct.

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal references two studies that examine the benefits of holding your child back. In one, researchers found that students who were redshirted scored 4 to 12 percent higher on tests than their nonredshirted peers. In the other study, it was revealed that older students were 4 to 11 percent more likely to hold leadership roles in high school (think student council president or captain of the soccer team). But are these slight advantages worth paying for an extra year of childcare or preschool? Experts say only if it's absolutely necessary.

"While some children really do need that extra year to mature, I've found redshirting often isn't about what's best for the child," Meg Meeker, a pediatrician and author of Strong Mothers, Strong Sons tells The Wall Street Journal. "It's about what's best for the parents."

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