Year 1 student Cooper Larsen.
Year 1 student Cooper Larsen. Alistair Brightman

Why this parent held her kid back and doesn't regret it

FOR Cooper Larsen, starting prep a year later has given him a love for learning and confidence like never before.

More parents like Cooper's are choosing to delay sending their children to school as they struggle with knowing when they are ready.

For the first time, researchers have looked at data from about 221,500 Queensland state school students and scoured parenting blogs for what drives the trend that saw the number of delayed starts double between 2010 and 2014.

After getting permission from kindy teachers and staff at his current school, Cooper's mum Tina Thompson kept her shy son in kindy for an extra year.

Now in grade one, Mrs Thompson said Cooper, 7, loves school.

"He's loving grade one and enjoys learning," Mrs Thompson said.

"Being a boy he's still a bit behind but he's got a lot more confident and he's not as shy, his teacher adores him."

Mrs Thompson said when Cooper was little all he wanted to do was play outside.

"He was more interested in playing outside over his ABCs so I spoke to his kinday teacher about delaying his start to prep," she said.

"We didn't think he was ready...parents don't realise how full on prep is and Cooper would have been one of the youngest in his class.

"If you think your child is not fully ready then see if you can hold them back, it was the best decision we ever made for our son."

Aimee Robins said her daughter could have started at four and a half but she thought that was too young.

"I'd rather her be one of the oldest than one of the youngest and struggle," she said.

"I'm happy with my decision, she's going to be super ready next year."

Simone Stern believes a lot of the time it is just the parent scared of letting their baby grow up.

"Each to their own of course and only parents know what their own child is capable of, but just remember too that children are very clever little individuals and the younger they start school the better, their brains absorb so much at a younger age," she said.

Melissa Walsh said she delayed her youngest and it was the best decision she ever made.

Did you hold your child back or are you planning on it? Join the discussion and tell us below.


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