Do September Babies Have an Advantage at School?
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.
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?
My daughter was a 9/1 scheduled c-section for the sole reason of not being required to hold her back if she was otherwise ready. She did 2 years of preschool and the only reason they could give me to hold her back was that she'd be the youngest. Nope. So she is the absolute youngest she could possibly be for her grade. She entered kindergarten reading on a second grade level, was identified as gifted in first grade (now in 3rd, she's still the only student in her grade), and is at the top of her class. On top of that her teachers frequently tell me how she leads by example and works well with others (apparently that's not common for gifted kids, they tell me) as well as she is very kind and patient with special needs students. If she'd have been a boy, I probably would have held him back. My older son is a January baby so it was never an issue with him. All this to say, you have to go child by child.Read More