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Redshirting: Should You Delay Kindergarten a Year for Your Child?

July 31, 2019

Redshirting is nothing new in college sports. In kindergarten, however, it’s a relatively new concept.

Like the college quarterback held back from sports for a year to extend his eligibility while improving his skills, it promises an advantage to the 5-year-old who puts off kindergarten until age 6.

But is it a smart decision?

“It’s not necessarily at advantage to hold kids back,” said Dr. Laura Saunders, child and adolescent psychologist with Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living, in a story appearing in USA Today’s Back to School magazine. “Is it in the child’s best cognitive, social and emotional interests?”

Despite mixed evidence that redshirting helps a child, the number of children starting at age 6 instead of age 5 is growing. In 1968, noted USA Today, 4 percent of kindergarten students were 6 years old. By 2008, 17 percent of kindergartners were 6.

More than anything, experts say, parents should consider their child’s readiness for school when contemplating a redshirt year.

For information on Child & Adolescent Services at the Institute of Living, click here.