Parenting: The Lucky Months

November 14, 2011

A study of children in Great Britain by the Institute of Fiscal Studies revealed that those born in the summer months tended to underachieve on standardized tests. Meanwhile, those born in September and other fall months were typically more successful academically and socially.

The study also found that children born in the summer were less likely to ever become the "teacher's pet," were more likely to be unhappy in school, and were more likely to be bullied.

(By the way, I was born three weeks shy of the start of summer. I remember being the teacher's pet some years, and being the ire of my classroom instructor in others).

What do these stats mean? (You can find the full study at this web link: http://www.ifs.org.uk/bns/bn122.pdf)

As the book Freakonomics noted many years ago, there are enormous differences in development amongst young children during their school years. Depending on the cut-off date, some children could be nearly a year older than others in the same grade.

Children who fall along the younger side of the cut-off date, inevitably, will be less developed, physically and mentally. They could be less mature. They may act more timid when competing against older classmates.

This has led to the practice of parents "red-shirting" their children in kindergarten, or holding them back another year so that their child measures up better physically and academically in elementary school.

The study's authors (again, who used children in Great Britain exclusively to compile their findings) suggest government officials be cognizant of any inherent disadvantages amongst school-age children.

Before you begin worrying about your own child if he or she happened to arrive in this world during the summer months, consider when our last four presidents were born. I think you will feel better after viewing the list.

Barrack Obama - August
George W. Bush - July
Bill Clinton - August
George H.W. Bush - June

Oddly enough, only one president was born in one of the study's "good" months, September: William Howard Taft.

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