If your due date falls in September, you may want to start saving for Ivy League tuition. According to a new study, children born in September generally perform better in school. The good news for the rest of us is that this has less to do with IQ and more to do with when school years start.

“Being an older age at school entry increases children’s college attainment and reduces the likelihood of being incarcerated for juvenile crime,” say the co-researchers from the University of Toronto, Northwestern University and University of Florida in a summary of their study, “School Starting Age and Cognitive Development.”


For the study, published in August in the National Bureau of Economic Research, the team examined the academic and behavioral outcomes of children born in different months by looking at data from the state of Florida reaching back to the 1990s. With all other factors controlled, the researchers found children born in September tended to have higher college admissions rates (by 2.6 percent) and lower juvenile crime rates (compared to the 1 percent boost in crime rates for August babies). Although study author David Figlio says the discrepancies between August- and September-born children aren’t “massive,” he does say they are statistically “meaningful.”

As for the reason why September babies seem to be smarter and more prone to staying on the straight-and-narrow: The majority of American states, including Florida, institute a Kindergarten cutoff date before September 1. That means babies born in September and subsequent fall months tend to be the older kids in class—which gives them an immediate leg-up.

That isn’t to say summer babies are out of luck. As numerous other studies show, the scholastic gap tends to be larger in the early years of primary education when an 11-month age difference makes a big difference. By the time students approach high school, testing results level out and may even favor younger kids.

Regardless of your child’s exact age upon entering school, the best bet for parents is to purposefully raise overcomers who don’t mind handling any challenges that come their way. ?

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."

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