Do September Babies Have an Advantage at School?

When your child is born may give them a leg up academically, according to new research.
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Does a child's birth month have any bearing on how they do in school? According to a new study, the answer is yes. September babies seem to do better.

In a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the authors claim kids with August birthdays who aren't redshirted, or held back from starting school another year, won't fare as well academically as kids with September birthdays.

To reach their conclusions, researchers looked at students in Florida, where the kindergarten cutoff falls on September 1st. They found September-born kids were more than 2 percent more likely to go to college versus their peers who were born in August. September babies were also more than 3 percent more likely to graduate. The research showed they were also 15.4 percent less likely to be get into trouble with the law while underage, as Today.com reports.

"Kids' brains are developing so fast and at different paces," explains Katherine Firestone, founder of the Fireborn Institute, a non-profit that provides parents with clear, practical, and easy-to-remember strategies to help their children thrive in school. "If you are the oldest in your class, your brain has had more time to develop than all the other kids. So, while an August baby may have the same IQ as a September baby, their brain hasn't had the same opportunity to grow and mature. So, the September baby is socially adept and his brain is ready to learn to read, but the August baby is 11 months behind and may not yet be ready, making things like reading and friendships more difficult."

But having had two daughters in kindergarten—one who was older for the grade, and one was very young—it's more about the individual child and her needs than anything else. I wouldn't say I've noticed a big difference in how they fared in school, or how they are doing now, years later.

These days, kindergarten has more of an academic focus than it did in the past. Your little learner will be reading, writing, and learning basic math, while still having time for fun during her school year in kindergarten.

In fact, as one of the report's authors, Krzysztof Karbownik, told Today.com, this research doesn't mean parents should hold their kids back. The data is just something to consider in making a well-rounded decision. Kids who are young for their grades may encounter challenges throughout their school careers. Or, they may do just fine. Nothing is a hard-and-fast rule.

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What is your take?

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger/mom. Find her on Facebook and Instagram where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.

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