More parents are holding their children back

More parents are holding their children back

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Before deciding whether he would enroll his son in kindergarten this year, Salt Lake County resident Travis took a close look at how his son plays with slightly younger kids.

"I'm not saying my son's slow in any way--I think he's pretty advanced--but to see just how much 10 months to a year, [it] makes a difference," Travis said.

He noticed his 5-year-old tends to play with kids younger than him.

"It wasn't an off-the-cuff decision. It wasn't a decision like, 'Oh, he has the choice? Well, then I'm going to hold him back,'" Travis said. "I thought about it for probably the last six months straight."

Travis asked a lot of people about it too.

"My uncle, his son had the choice, and they held him [back], they redshirted him, and he says it was the best thing ever. My roommate also had the same, choice and he redshirted his son," Travis said.

In the end, he decided to wait a year, feeling it was the best choice for his child and in his circumstance. Travis says he's been feeling a lot of heat for his decision.

"A lot of people thought that I was making the wrong decision because they felt that he was ready for school this year," Travis explained.

He's not alone. Newsweek says the percentage of parents redshirting kindergarten has doubled since 1980. The article cites education analysts that say kindergarten has changed, adding more pressure on children to learn more, quicker.

Not all the research backs redshirting. At first glance, older kids do perform better on tests, but some analysts say it could be from better preparation before entering school, not just because of their age.

In 2006, a study from researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign said: "We do not find that the relationship between entrance age and outcomes reflects a heightened ability to learn or greater physical maturity among older children the most common interpretations of the entrance age effect."

Even though Travis isn't putting his son into kindergarten right now, he says he's enrolling him in other programs that will prepare his child for school when he does attend.


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Paul Nelson


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