Blog Community
Working Parent Parenting & Child Care by Stage Child Development Education Family Health Family Life In the News

Should You Delay Kindergarten?

Should You Delay Kindergarten?

If you’ve been thinking about delaying your preschooler’s start in Kindergarten by a year, you’re not alone. I feel lucky that my kids are January and February babies – nowhere near our school district’s September 1 cut-off. But for kids with late spring and summer birthdays, the trend has become more and more common, especially for boys. But is it a smart practice? They don’t think so in NYC where my sister’s kids attend school. They’ve banned the practice of allowing parents to arbitrarily delay their children’s start in Kindergarten. And now a couple of neuroscientists have done the research showing that the practice may do more harm than good. As they put it, “Brain development cannot be put on pause.” The kids who are having the issues that tend to cause their parents to hold them back are the ones who can actually benefit the most from what school has to offer, and they can do it at a time when their brain is developing faster than it ever will again. They compared kids with the same abilities and maturity in their pre-K years and found that those whose Kindergarten start was delayed actually performed worse overall in the end, were less motivated, and less likely to achieve their full potential.

If you are as fascinated by this as I am, you can read more about it in their op-ed in the New York Times here. I’m glad it’s a dilemma I won’t likely have to face, but if it’s one you’ve considered tell us what do you think of this study or share your experience here.



  1. Profile photo of

    Cooking Mom September 30, 2011 at 11:21 am

    I worry about this all the time because my daughter has an October birthday and will be starting Kindergarten at a much older age than her peers. However, I am happy that her new Bright Horizons Pre-Kindergarten classroom is stimulating her learning more this year in preparation. It has helped relieve some of the worry for me as I hear her enthusiasm each night about the cool learning things they did during the day.

  2. Heather March 21, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    You say, “They compared kids with the same abilities and maturity in their pre-K years.” So in fact, this study is irrelevant to most parents considering this. Most of the time, parents are talking about starting kids later who do NOT have the same abilities and maturity as the other kids in their class.

  3. Media Mom

    Media Mom March 21, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Sorry Heather if it was unclear. The children who delayed Kindergarten were compared to children who shared the same abilities and maturity as those children, but whose parents did not delay the start of Kindergarten. In other words, as best as can be done, they studied apples to apples, with the only distinction being whether or not they delayed Kindergarten. Children who were immature for their age and who delayed kindergarten a year, for instance, were not compared with more mature children. They were compared with equally immature children for their age who started Kindergarten on the standard schedule.

Please Log In to Comment