A new study came out that implies we’re sending our kids to school too early. According to a new study from Stanford University, delaying your kid’s start to school for one year increases self-control.
The study followed a group of Danish kids whose parents postponed their entry to kindergarten for up to one year. Thomas Dee, one of the co-authors and a Stanford Graduate School of Education professor, collaborated on the research with Hans Henrik Sievertsen of the Danish National Centre for Social Research. Dee stated in a press release that inattention may be due to putting kids in school too early:
“We found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73% for an average child at age 11.”
Apparently, the duo discovered that waiting one year would mean that “waiting one year virtually eliminated the chance that an average kid at age 11 would have higher-than-normal scores on those measures,” according to Quartz.
Typically, American kids start kindergarten at 5, but some parents wait to send their kids until they are 6. Of course, it’s important to note that having better self-control and attention span doesn’t necessarily correlate to better school performance, although common sense says it probably does increase the chances of that.
These results are interesting but limited, considering it only tests kids in one country which has universal access to education in a way the U.S. doesn’t. Education in the U.S. is not equal, depending on state and jurisdiction.
So, while the numbers in this study could indicate a persuasive argument to delaying schooling, there are also so many educational inequalities in the U.S. that Denmark’s situation may not be entirely comparable—and the results should be taken with a grain of salt.