Dear Mr. Dad: Our daughter will turn five this summer, just three weeks before the cutoff for kindergarten. If I send her to kindergarten this year, she’d be the youngest in her class. How do I know whether she’s actually ready?
A: Welcome to the first of many life-and-death decisions about your child’s education! I’m kidding, of course, but it certainly feels that way, doesn’t it? Like most parenting decisions, rest assured that the decision about when to start kindergarten isn’t half as consequential as we tend to think. There are roughly equal advantages and disadvantages to being the youngest and the oldest in class, so that really shouldn’t be the basis of your decision. More important is your last question: How do you know when your child is ready?