If you have ever been involved in a conversation about whether or not a child should be held back in school, chances are likely there has been a lot of emphasis on the negatives. Parents, teachers, experts, and people who should mind their own business have all in one way or another discussed the cons of holding a child back a grade, including feeling left behind, the possibility of not graduating high school, and increased behavioral issues. But are there benefits of holding your child back? Some parents and educators say the trend — which is known as "redshirting" — can indeed lead to increased success at school for some children.
According to Verywell Family, "Academic redshirting is the practice of keeping a child who is age-eligible for kindergarten out of school an extra year and enrolling him the next fall." Determining eligibility will depend on where you live, but the website noted that for some the cut-off is "as early as June 15, while for others, it's as late as Dec. 1."
Curious about whether or not you should redshirt your child? Below you will find some reasons why the decision might be beneficial to your child and you.
1. It Might Help Your Child Behave Better
What To Expect noted that holding kids back from kindergarten gives them another year to master certain social skills, like sharing and listening. If your child is prone to tantrums at preschool or often gets distracted, then you might want to consider your options in terms of when to send them to school.
2. They Might Be More Successful In School
According to Working Mother, researchers from the University of Toronto, Northwestern University and the University of Florida discovered that kids who are considered "old" for their grade do better in school.
3. It Doesn't Mean They Won't Graduate High School
That same study also showed that — even though it's long been considered a possible risk to whether or not a child will finish high school — holding your kid back does not have a "discernible impact on high school graduation rates," according to NPR.
4. Because Malcolm Gladwell Said So
Author Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, that "a disproportionate number of professional hockey players are born during the months of January, February, and March, lending further support to the theory that kids who are among the oldest in their class have a developmental advantage that boosts the odds that they'll excel in school, on the sports field, and in many other aspects of life," according to Parents. In other words, holding your kid back might help them develop the skills they need to go pro.
5. It Might Help A Child That Has ADHD Thrive
Michelle Roses shared with Quora in 2016 that holding her daughter back in fifth grade helped her feel better equipped to navigate her ADHD and anxiety disorder.
"Holding my daughter back was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made," Roses wrote. "Bean could have gotten lost in the fast pace of middle school and drowned in the 'mean girl' drama. Instead, she got a chance to mature and grow comfortable with who she is and have confidence in who she can become."
6. It Could Help With Improved Motor Skills
What To Expect shared the following example to explain how holding a child back might help develop motor skills: "A child who’s just turned 5 may not have the fine-motor skills required for kindergarten work — coloring, pasting, cutting, and holding a pencil properly. Kindergarten teachers also expect students to be able to fend for themselves (with minimal help) when it comes to hanging up jackets and backpacks, managing zippers and buttons, and tying their shoelaces."
That means redshirting your child for a year might give them necessary bonus time to hone these particular skills.
7. Maybe It's Just The Best Thing For Them
Understood.org said holding your child back might be optimal if your child has missed a lot of school due to illness, emotional trauma, or a move. The website noted that children who are developmentally immature might also benefit from being redshirted in an effort to nix the stress they might otherwise experience by plugging ahead.