Waiting to start kindergarten can be good for kids, study says

October 12, 2015

By Ben Stocking

If you’re planning to send your child to kindergarten next fall, perhaps you should wait.

A new study from Stanford University has found that kids who delay kindergarten for a year enjoy mental health benefits that last later into childhood.

In particular, children who wait show significantly lower levels of inattention and hyperactivity, the study found. The benefits persisted even at age 11.

Some previous studies have found no benefits to a later start.

“I think they were looking at the wrong outcomes,” said Thomas Dee, a Stanford education professor who co-authored the new study. “They looked at test scores, dropout rates and employment. We looked at psychological outcomes.”

A growing number of American parents wait an extra year before enrolling their children in kindergarten. The practice is known as “academic redshirting,” a term borrowed from collegiate sports, where athletes sometimes wait a year in order to practice and mature before competing on the field.