The Parenting Science news feed alerts you to new postings on the Parenting Science website. It also features commentaries about recent events or discoveries in anthropology, evolutionary biology, psychology, and the popular culture.
If you’d like to subscribe to the Parenting Science news feed, RIGHT-click on the orange RSS button (on the lower right) and paste the URL into your RSS reader.
Alternatively--if you have a personalized homepage with Yahoo, MSN, or Google--you can click on the “My Yahoo," "My MSN," or "Add to Google” buttons.
Don't see anything new?
Click your browser's refresh button to check for recent updates.
How do we teach kids to conserve the earth's resources? Maybe the most crucial factor is getting kids to play outside.
In recent months, headlines announced that music lessons do not have an effect on the way kids think and learn.
But the study in question didn't test the effects of learning to play a musical instrument. Instead, it tested the effects of 6 weeks of music-oriented preschool activities on young children.
What, then, do we know about the effects of serious, sustained musical training? It's clear that such training causes changes in the brain, and there is reason to think that many of the skills musicians acquire could be relevant for academic achievement.
The best reason to enroll kids in music lessons remains the obvious one: Learning to play music, and understand it, is intrinsically rewarding. But kids may also benefit in other ways.
For an updated review of the evidence, see my article, "Music and intelligence."
Some thoughts about a new study suggesting that early life adversity shortens a child's telomeres, and, therefore, hastens the aging process.
New evidence that a nap helps babies figure out the rules that govern language.
How is school serving your child? Here is my updated round-up of the many articles and blog posts I've written about schooling: A review of the best-available evidence about educating our kids.
An updated look at what hunter-gatherers have to teach us about healthy diets.
New research suggests that the parents of very young children are making headway in the battle against obesity. But there is evidence that many children have genetic risk factors. What can we do about it?
Babies and children can be hard to figure out. Here are five things that researchers say many parents don't realize.
A new study of more than 2700 American families found that 30% of one-year-olds had been spanked. What's going on?
When it comes to coping with the new and unexpected, young children may have an advantage.
In the wake of new study reporting that preschoolers were better than college students at figuring out a strange, new device, we ought to re-examine the messages we are sending to children.
Do years of education train kids to stop thinking in innovative ways? See my updated argument about the media, popular, culture, and schooling.
For years we've heard about links between breastfeeding and cognitive development. New research helps pinpoint what's responsible for the link, and it doesn't seem to be the milk. It's a package of parenting practices that breastfeeding mothers tend to follow.
Babies deprive parents of sleep. But do babies themselves ever suffer from insomnia?
Literacy experts conducted a long-term, experimental study, and the results are in: Diligent, daily lessons did NOT teach babes how to read.
Exciting new research suggests that our ability to understand other people is rooted in very real, very concrete physiological phenomena. And yet empathy isn't just a matter of neurons. Read my updated article about empathy and the brain.
Recent research suggests that the mere reminder of money can change the way we feel about the time we spend with our children.
Stories without conflict would be boring. But do kids really crave stories full of physical violence? Research suggests otherwise, and so we might ask ourselves: What's the point of presenting young children with all that aggression? Who actually benefits?
An updated look at the effects of violent television on kids.
You want to make sure your baby is getting enough vitamin D. But is she? Based on the research I’ve seen, I wouldn’t bet on it. Especially if she is breastfed. Read why doctors should be monitoring the vitamin D status of breastfeeding babies...and their mothers.
Why aren't human automatic breast-feeders? I'm not sure, but even monkeys have to learn.
Educated parents from information-based societies need little convincing. They harbor a cultural bias in favor of play. But in many places, schools are cutting back on recess and other opportunities for free play. How do we know these moves are counter-productive? See my updated guide to the evidence about the cognitive effects of play.
Pretend play is stimulating and fun, and that's reason enough to do it. But might it also bring out the best in kids?
Some babies form secure attachments with their caregivers. Others don't, and this failure has implications for the development of behavior problems.
But what does it mean, in concrete terms, that a child is securely attached? How do researchers measure attachment, and why do some children fail to form secure attachments?
An updated look at a special form of baby communication - infant-directed speech - and its effects on babies.
A new study asked children in two different societies what they believed about "pre-life," the time before they were conceived. The results suggest that many kids think they could feel and desire even before their mothers were pregnant with them. What are the implications?
What does recent research tell us about the "Ferber method," also known as "cry it out" sleep training? Here is my updated review of the evidence.
Some toddlers are more likely to hit, kick, bite, or attack other people. Are their parents doing something wrong? Not necessarily. A new study suggests that in the development of early childhood aggression, genetic factors play a big role.
A number of recent studies point in the same direction: Adults play a big role in the development of children's self-control. Are you contributing in a positive way? See my updated, evidence-based tips.
Practice makes perfect, but too much practice – in the form of lengthy, mind-numbing drills – is actually counter-productive. To help kids learn faster, we need to schedule shorter practice sessions and give kids opportunities to tinker, experiment, and explore.
What practical insights did researchers offer parents in 2013? Here's a countdown of the stories that impressed me the most.
Hoping that you and your kids will get better sleep in 2014? You might start by taking stock of your family's sleep needs. See my updated review of the research on sleep requirements, and the importance of taking an individualized approach.
You may have read about the latest study. Researchers found that children were more likely to develop peanut allergies if their mothers had avoided eating the nuts during pregnancy.
But what does the overall evidence suggest? And what exactly did the researchers in this study control for? Here's what you need to know.
Even toddlers have their own, individualized biological clocks. What happens if bedtime is out of sync with your child's personal circadian rhythms?
Lego bricks and other construction toys may enhance STEM skills -- especially when kids follow models or blueprints.
Physically attractive people benefit from a number of prejudices, and these begin in childhood. Experiments suggest that teachers believe attractive kids are more academically competent.
What can we do to battle lookism? Raising awareness about unconscious biases is important, but we also ought to consider the slippery, culturally-relative nature of "beauty."
A new study published in the journal Nature suggests that men, too, can influence the development of their unborn babies through the lifestyle choices they make.
When approached as fun, game show-like challenges, tests can be an effective study tool. But for many kids, tests don't take this form. In places like the United States, time-consuming standardized tests are being administered to children at an early age, and some students are feeling the pressure. What can we do? A look at what critics have to say about latest tests, and tips for helping your child cope.
An updated guide to newborn sleep, with tips on how to cope.
With all the vague warnings and conflicting information about food safety, it's no wonder that some conscientious pregnant women end up with overly restrictive diets.
Kids subjected to early, rigorous academic lessons might have a head start, but their peers appear to catch up over time. So what's the point?
How do parents keep babies calm, happy, and emotionally healthy?