Feb 9 10
by cara
at 11:58 AM
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Cutoff Birthday

I need your opinions!! (Some of you have weighed in on Facebook, but I’d love to hear from more of you!)

Is it better to be the oldest or youngest kid in the class?

The Littlest Apple’s birthday is August 31.  The school cutoff here is September 1.

I knew that I was going to have to make a decision about whether or not to send him to kindergarten or hold him back when he turns 5, but I thought I had a few more years to make that decision!

Right now, The Littlest Apple is right in the middle of the age range for his Young 2’s class at Mother’s Day Out, so I didn’t have to think about it at registration last year.

But now I DO have to think about it.  It’s registration time for preschools and Mother’s Day Out, and his birthday is on the cutoff.  I’m exploring a couple of different schools, and I have one school telling me that he needs to be in the Older 2’s class.  Another school is telling me that he belongs in the 3 Year Old class.

I’m not sure what to do.  I know I should be primarily considering his emotional and intellectual readiness, not his size.  I don’t ever want to hold him back just because of his size, because he can definitely hold his own in the room.  But he IS really small, and I know it will be an issue for sports, especially since he’s a boy.

I had a summer birthday (7/31), was always one of the shortest kids in the class and I did just fine.

I know this has been a big topic for debate (the idea of “redshirting” your kids before they even start school, and the ideal age for kindergarten).  I also know that so much of it depends on the child, and that every situation is unique.

But what do YOU think?  Is it better to be the oldest or youngest kid in the class?

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From motherhood

  1. It’s a tough decision. I’m an August 30, same cutoff here. I did fine. But I’m a girl and the oldest child and was more than ready.

    My younger son will be 5 on August 2, so we’ve had the same debate. He has been slightly behind in a couple of areas, but has made great progress. In so many other ways, though, he is ready. For a long time, we had decided to wait another year because of those delays and that he is a boy. However, because of the progress he has made, we’ve decided to put him in kindergarten in the fall knowing that we may hold him back. In the meantime, my son is in a Mother’s Day Out and loves it.

    Every child is different. And even if you make one decision today, you have every right to change your mind and do it differently when the time comes.

  2. That is such a tough decision! It seems like the thing to do now is to hold them back, but you really have to look at each child individually. I’ll tell you about my experience.

    My daughter has a May birthday. I didn’t really consider holding her back because she was already starting to read, and I thought she would be bored with another year of preschool. She did just fine in kindergarten, although she was pretty shy in the beginning. However, it was a shock when we went to some birthday parties in February and March of classmates turning SEVEN, when Grace had not even turned six yet. What started as parents holding back a child with a summer birthday has turned into children being held back if their birthday falls after Jan 1!

    My son has a November birthday, so his transition to kindergarten has been very easy. Those extra months just make a big difference in how they socialize and adapt to school.

    An option that I have seen several people do is to send their child to a private kindergarten. (Our church preschool has one.) The child with the late birthday can start kindergarten in a smaller, more personal setting. At the end of the year, the parents can decide whether to send them to public kindergarten or directly to public school first grade. I think this is a great “wait-and-see” option that I wish I would have thought about for my May birthday daughter.

    Hope this helps!

  3. Jenny permalink

    I like what Tanya said about Private Kinder. I teach 8th grade, but I’ve heard wonderful things about the Redd school in Champions. It is great for the younger kids.

    From what I’ve heard from friends with boys you have to look at the maturity level…so hard to tell at this point! Seems like he is your typical high energy boy so far.

    My daughter has been in daycare all day since 4 months and it is amazing to see how smart she is, and she’s the 3rd youngest in her class. We too were concerned, but her teachers were sure she could hold her own…and she has.

    The benefit to being the youngest or on the young end is that you learn from your peers. (of course not all of it is good, but at 2 or 3 I would select the older group) He can always do an extra year of pre-school if need be, but if he’s ready now, shouldn’t you give it a try?

  4. I have erased what I have wrote here 4 times already because I can not really give you advice because I do not know your situation. My daughter has to start kindergarten when she is still 4 because of the cut off date and I do not have a choice.
    Deep down in your heart you will have a feeling. A motherly feeling…I say Go with that!

  5. I was one of the oldest kids in my class (end of September birthday). I actually knew a girl in high school whose birthday was two days before mine, but she was a year younger than me. Now she’s in med school, and I’m in grad school, so I guess it might not make too much of a difference! 🙂 I liked being older than everyone else, probably because I thought it made me cool, but I don’t remember any real advantages or disadvantages for me personally. I agree with the last comment; God can really talk to us through our gut instincts!

  6. Hi,
    My son’s b’day is Sept. the cut off where we live is Dec.
    At such a young age I don’t think it’s a major concern if you put him in the 2’s class you’ll know quickly if it’s the right fit for him. Academically my son could have gone to Kindergarten when he was 3 reading and problem solving come naturally, the social skills however usually hold young boys back, if that isn’t evident when they are very young you certainly see it by 4th and 5th grade as I was told and yes it is true. I put my son in school without regret-he was bored at preschool and wants a challenge and he is happy, I agree our gut tells us what is best. My kids happen to go to a school that is highly focused on test scores so I do see a lot of parents feel the pressure to hold their kids back until they were ready to WORK, that was not our issue and his is as mature in my eyes as the 6 other boys his age on our block and funny I couldn’t see him in a younger class at this point he’s in 4th grade now. My husband was in the same situation as my son and did have immature behavior but was at the top of his class academically, so we had to weigh out that as well (with my husband having had been through it first hand) from what I hear high school is more challenging, but it is really my opinion that kids in high school should not be late 18 year old and 19 year olds with 14 year olds…but since some want their kids to be at the top of the class you’ll find socially and academically mature kids being held back that year to give them an academic edge an especially in sports-I see is quite a bit now that my kids are getting older. If you’l like to chat about it more feel free to email me.

  7. The Husky Apple (Matt) permalink

    My birthday is ten days before Lil’ Apple’s b-day, and I don’t think it ever made a difference at all.

  8. The Husky Apple (Matt) permalink

    BTW, I typed that previous post from my phone. I am aware of the pronoun-antecedent problem.

  9. Debra permalink

    For what it’s worth, I think it would be a good idea to wait, even though I agree that you should never hold him back from anything else because of his size. In this case, this one thing could have a positive effect on his entire school career. If his birthday were in July and you were considering holding him back it would be different, but since his birthday is August 31 and the school year starts earlier in August, there would never be any stigma. On the first day of kindergarten (Aug. 26, or whatever) he will be 5 yrs old just like all the other kids.


  10. I’m really amazed by all of the lengthy comments that this post received! Thanks again to everyone for your input.

    I’ve decided that I’m going to do what’s best for The Littlest Apple right now, and deal with kindergarten in a few years. Despite what that one preschool director told me, there is absolutely no reason I need to worry about kindergarten right now. For now, this means moving The Littlest Apple to the 3’s class next year instead of the Older 2s. I had a long chat with his current teacher, and she thinks that’s where he will fit in best.

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