Late Summer Birthdays: Hold Back Or Send To Kindergarten?

Even though my daughter is only 3.5 years old, I’ve been having a debate in my mind lately about kindergarten. Her birthday is late in July, so I’ve come to the tough decision that most parents of late summer birthday kids face. Send them to school when you’re supposed to so they are younger for their grade? Or hold them back a year from school and they are the oldest for their grade? 

I’ve been wrestling with a decision for quite some time now, listing out pros and cons. Sending your kids to school earlier when they will be younger for the age means they are out of the house earlier and accustomed to school sooner. Sending them later so they are older means they have more time to be a kid and don’t have the pressures of going to school placed on them so fast. 

The pros and cons lists are endless, I’ve been making them for about a year now! And beyond that, it’s so situational depending on each child individually, and their external circumstances. It is nearly impossible to know what the best situation is without doing an entire scientific experiment and analyzing both situations. But that is impossible to do! 

Here is where I am finding comfort- Kids thrive in whatever situation they are placed in. 

Sure, each child will have their struggles in school. Some may fall behind because they are younger for their grade and cannot keep up academically. Others may stick out and get made fun of because they are taller or bigger for their grade. 

Regardless, they will have successes too. They will find happiness and thriving whether you place them in kindergarten this year, or the next. 

We have yet to choose if my daughter will be attending kindergarten in 2022 or 2023, but once we do, you bet you guys will hear about our decision and the entire thought process that will go into it! 

Is this a decision weighing on you right now too? Which way are you leaning? 

8 Replies to “Late Summer Birthdays: Hold Back Or Send To Kindergarten?”

  1. I had a summer birthday and despised being younger than everyone else in my grade. I swore that when I had children I first wouldn’t have them in the summer and then second, I wouldn’t send them until the following school year. I now have five amazing children and of course planning birthdays is not something you can keep complete control of. My oldest daughter has a birthday late in July and when it came time for kindergarten there was no way I could hold her back. This worked out just fine for her but I don’t think it would have for most of my other children. Like you mentioned, it definitely depends on the child.

  2. Our daughter’s birthday IS the cutoff date for our school district, which is a month after school actually begins. She’d be beginning kindergarten as a 4 year old and, down the road, college as a 17 year old. Eek! She is a second child and has is up for doing whatever her older brother is doing, so I think she’d be fine going to elem. school with him (she’s spent the last two years trailing him in preschool and is used to that.) I love the idea of them being close friends throughout school. And I don’t worry about her excelling academically as a younger student, as she picks up quickly on things her older brother is learning. My main concern is her emotional development and if she’ll really be ready for the “real world” at 17. I’ve read articles that focus on redshirted boys and their overall life satisfaction, but if you come across any that focus on girls’ experiences with redshirting, please do share! This is such a tough decision!

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Thank you for your comment. It truly is such a tough decision. That’s crazy that her birthday is ON the deadline too! It’s so hard when it’s very situational for each child. We did end up sending my daughter to kindergarten on time instead of holding her back. You can read that post here ->
      However, we’ve decided to keep our son home another year and send him to kindergarten later! The research on holding boys back is very interesting! You can read more about my thoughts on that here ->
      I’m very intrigued to see what you decide to do! Us parents trying to navigate these decisions have got to stick together!

    2. What did you decide to do? My daughters birthday is also the exact cutoff date and enrollment decisions for next year are due soon with our school lottery process.

      1. Hi Nancy! We ended up not redshirting her and sending her to kindergarten as the youngest in her class! And we’ve had the most incredible experience overall with it, she is absolutely thriving in her 1st-grade classroom this year. I was worried I would regret sending her later down the road, but I have only had positive experiences from sending her! You can read about it here —>

  3. I have taught high school for over 20 years. Remember, you are not just making this decision for a kindergarten student but for a life long student. I can usually spot a summer birthday where the child is the youngest in their grade without even looking it up because they lack maturity. Also, brain development comes into play more as school gets harder. Kids that read first are not necessarily the smartest kids. Finally, the social aspect plays a big role as they are the first to hit different milestones. Talk to a preschool teacher, a 6th grade teacher and a 9th grade teacher and you will find most suggest that the older the better for the student.

    1. I have heard very similar comments from other teachers! It’s very interesting to see the research behind it, even just the research of teachers observing. We ultimately decided to send my daughter to kindergarten on time instead of holding her back a year, and her teacher commented to us that she couldn’t even tell that she was one of the younger kids… However, I did wonder if she was just saying that to make us feel better! My oldest is very much… an oldest child, though. My second child, a son, is a different story though and he will absolutely be held back a full year for school! He needs this extra time.

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