For those of you who don't know, redshirting is the act of delaying a child's kindergarten entrance by a year. Some parents do it in the hopes of giving their kid an academic advantage. While that may work at first, it hurts the child in the long-run. Here is my experience.
I was born on July 3rd, and made the cut-off in my area by a solid 2 months. However, at the advice of my pre-school teachers, my parents decided to wait until I was 6 to put me in Kindergarten. At first, it was pretty awesome. I was taller than most of my classmates and better in sports. The problem, however, was that some of my classmates thought I was dumb, because I was a grade behind. A lot of them didn't seem to understand that it wasn't my choice to start school a year late. In high school, it was really awesome being the first to drive, as all my friends thought I was really cool. It wasn't until I was a senior in high school that I realized my parents may have done me a disservice. It really sucked to be stuck on a high school campus as an adult. High schools are not designed for adults which is why I felt so out of place my senior year. That was why I was really excited to start college. By the 2nd semester of my freshman year, almost everyone was an adult, so I felt like I fit in once again. My junior year, however, I hit another bump. I turned 21 right before my junior year, but because my friends were 19 and 20, I couldn't go to a bar for my birthday. And throughout my junior year, if I wanted to go to a bar, I would have to go by myself, and if I wanted to hang out with my friends, I couldn't go to a bar. But it was my senior year of college when I truly realized that my parents had done me a disservice. That was the year I should have been starting my career and earning real money, but instead, I was still stuck doing homework and studying for exams. I entered the real world and started working at 23 instead of 22, a year late. To this day, I still feel behind. When I retire, I'm probably going to have less earnings than I would have otherwise, and every time there's a mile-stone, such as buying a new house, or getting a promotion, I keep thinking, "I would have been doing this one year earlier." So remember, while it may not seem like a big deal for a 5-year-old to be in pre-school instead of elementary school, that child will one day be a 22-year-old in college senior instead of out in the world and earning money.
I'm currently having this issue with DS, who was born on August 5th. His pre-school teachers have been strongly advising me to redshirt, but because of my experience, there is no way I'm doing this. He may not be a star athlete and he may not always be at the top of his class, but so what? My job is to prepare to become a self-supporting and successful adult and to teach him that he doesn't need trophies or to always be the best in order to be happy. I've learned from my parents' mistake and I want to make sure that he doesn't get a late start in life like I did. I also don't want his classmates thinking there's something wrong with him.
So if your child has a summer birthday, send them on time. They'll be thanking you when they're 18 and in college pursuing their dreams rather than still in high school and they'll thank you again when they're 22 and in the real world instead of still in college.