child development

I Think It Sucks To Red-Shirt Your Child For The Wrong Reasons

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On the other end of the spectrum, I am a mid-December birthday and with the NY cut-off, that meant I was always among the oldest in my class. Elementary school was a breeze for me. I was always in the “top” reading group and participated in enrichment activities. I am far from a genius, yet, I cannot remember much challenging me until I reached junior high. However, as time went on, I settled into the middle of the pack academically taking a few AP courses but mostly, regular classes. My grades were average in subjects I wasn’t fond of and A’s in subjects I liked- from my perspective, nothing about my age seemed to give me an advantage past 5th grade.

Being the oldest was fun because every kid wants that but other than that novelty, it rarely mattered. I do feel that being older made things boring sometimes in elementary school because at almost six years old, I was reading when I started kindergarten. I remember being bored at times and I used to talk too much in class and I have no doubt that was part of the reason. I tried picturing my daughter at her academic level in pre-k and how much more she would know in a year and just couldn’t imagine waiting so long for her to start kindergarten. I’m very happy with our decision.

That said, of all reasons, I do think it’s not wise to red-shirt solely for sports. At age 4-6, how do you know your child will be good enough one day for college sports teams? It seems like a big leap to make for a kid that might end up not even liking sports. When Junior is far and away the oldest kid in his 3rd grade class but prefers chess over football are his parents going to be disappointed? I don’t understand making those decisions based on something that is nowhere near a guarantee. I can’t see putting that kind of pressure on a child to live out your hopes and dreams. I know that isn’t always the case but how many parents of 5-year olds can honestly say that they know big-time sports are in their child’s future? Enough so that they are willing to alter their academic and social course to give them a perceived advantage? It is definitely an eye-brow raiser to me.

There are many valid reasons to hold your child back from school but these decisions should never be made lightly and all factors should be taken into consideration most of all being, what is best for your child. Holding your child back because they cannot sit still and listen for five minutes makes complete sense- doing it in hopes that they will be the biggest linebacker one day really doesn’t.


(Image: RobHainer/Shutterstock)


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