Thursday, December 5, 2013

Planning to have an autumn baby

My son was born in the Spring. Like so many other mothers, I was thrilled when I found out that I was pregnant, and looked forward to his due date. At no time during my pregnancy did I wonder if the time of year that he was born would affect how he would perform at school.

Several studies from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and other researchers have shown that students born later in the academic year perform significantly worse in school than those born at the start of the academic year. Those few months of difference evidently have a large effect on children's test scores as well as their own confidence and emotional levels.

I suppose this makes sense. With different school entrance ages in effect for different school systems, your 5-year-old child with a birthday in late August may be able to start kindergarten shortly after turning 5, making him the youngest in his class, or he may have to wait until the next year, making him one of the oldest children in his class.

I have a June birthday, and I do recall being one of the youngest children in my class. I am not sure if I was academically stunted though, as I was a bit of a nerdy kid and my Mom was always really good about challenging me with extra workbooks and reading at home (thanks, Mom!) Maybe it is due to her extra efforts that I stayed near the head of the class. One thing I really didn't like about my June birthday is that we were out of school by the time my birthday rolled around, and I could never bring cupcakes into the class to celebrate. (It's the weird little things you remember, right?)

As for my son, I will count him as fortunate that he falls in the middle of the academic year, and I won't have to worry about him being too close to an entrance age cut-off date. If you live in the U.S. and you aren't sure what the entrance age cut off date is for kindergarten in your state, you can find out here

I am curious as to how other households plan to handle this. Do you have a summer-born child who is younger than most of his classmates? How did you deal with it? Did you notice any difference between your child and his/her classmates?

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