Summer sped by at its usual warp speed and before we knew it, we were kissing our babies (even the big ones) goodbye and shepherding them into school. Many little ones will be starting reception, some only a month or even a few days into their fourth year of life – this is a big deal. Long days and structured learning – how will these little ones cope in comparison to their older peers?
Research shows that children born in the summer months of July and August often lag behind their peers, academically and socially, which affects their confident. New research suggests that this gap narrows as children grow into school but there are also studies that show the life-long effects of being the youngest at school.
Concerned parents of children born between 1 April and 31 August have the option of requesting a delayed school start for their child, whereby councils will make a decision in the child’s best interests, taking account of parents’ views and information about the child’s development.
As parents, we want to make the best decisions for our children. The reality, when it comes to starting school, is that there will always be a youngest child; children are born throughout the year, and school starts at a fixed point. We also know that adversity fosters resilience in children, which is a skill crucial to general life management.
If you’ve a summer baby who has started school and you’re a little concerned about his/her ability to manage – keep an open dialogue with your child’s teacher and the school; and (whilst it might be difficult) avoid comparison. You know your child – track his/her progress according to his/her natural pace of development. And most importantly, is your child happy?