The Parenting Science News Feed

The Parenting Science news feed alerts you to updates on the Parenting Science website and to new blog posts or articles written by Gwen Dewar about parenting and child development topics.

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Sep 19, 2017

Nightmares and night terrors in children: What's the difference, and how can we help?

Night terrors are surprisingly common in children, though not as prevalent as nightmares. How can you tell the difference between a nightmare and a night terror? And what should we do help children cope?

Continue reading "Nightmares and night terrors in children: What's the difference, and how can we help?"

Sep 14, 2017

Preschool social skills: Evidence-based tips for helping children succeed

Young children aren't too young to learn lessons about cooperating, negotiating, and being helpful.

And children with good preschool social skills don't just get along with others. They are also more likely to succeed in life.

Here is an up-to-date look at what the research tells us about fostering great people skills.

Continue reading "Preschool social skills: Evidence-based tips for helping children succeed"

Sep 08, 2017

Yes, we can help kids develop the skills they need to thrive socially, and make the world a better place

Upset by hate, greed, and social injustice? It's time to get serious about fostering empathy and caring in the next generation. Not just at home, but in our schools and communities.

Ten evidence-based tips for teaching empathy, based on the latest research in psychology and neuroscience. Let's help our kids make a better future.

Continue reading "Yes, we can help kids develop the skills they need to thrive socially, and make the world a better place"

Aug 30, 2017

Parents: How do you handle video games?

What are your feelings about video games? Do you monitor or supervise your children's gaming?

If you are a parent who is at least 18 years old, Douglas Smith of Southern Oregon University would appreciate your participation in his study of parenting and video games.

Continue reading "Parents: How do you handle video games?"

Aug 24, 2017

ADHD in children: What parents need to know about attention and hyperactivity

Diagnosis of ADHD among very young children in on the rise. How does ADHD get diagnosed, and why should we be concerned?

Continue reading "ADHD in children: What parents need to know about attention and hyperactivity"

Aug 18, 2017

Fear of childbirth - an ongoing study

Researchers want to better understand the fears that people experience when they are pregnant. If you're a woman who's expecting, you can help them.

Continue reading "Fear of childbirth - an ongoing study"

Aug 16, 2017

The newborn senses: What does your baby feel, see, hear, smell, and taste?

An evidence-based look at your baby's world.

Continue reading "The newborn senses: What does your baby feel, see, hear, smell, and taste?"

Aug 10, 2017

The Ferber Method: What does the evidence tell us about "cry it out" sleep training?

If you've followed stories in the popular media, you might have gotten the impression that the controversy is over.

Haven't studies demonstrated that graduated extinction, also known as the Ferber method, is a safe, cost-free way to solve a child's sleep problems?

The answer is no, and the reason is straightforward: Studies to date haven't controlled for key variables of concern.

Continue reading "The Ferber Method: What does the evidence tell us about "cry it out" sleep training?"

Aug 03, 2017

Summer learning loss: How to stop it, and still have fun

Kids can lose months of learning when they stop studying. But research suggests you can prevent summer learning loss, and still enjoy a break from the classroom.

Continue reading "Summer learning loss: How to stop it, and still have fun"

Jul 25, 2017

Can a preschool board game boost math skills?

Studies suggest the answer is yes...if the game has these particular features.

Continue reading "Can a preschool board game boost math skills?"

Jul 20, 2017

Are confining social rules and stereotypes interfering with your child's intellectual growth?

Societies everywhere sort people into categories, and children are paying attention.

Children notice social stereotypes about gender, race, and socioeconomic status. And the effects aren't good.

Read about "stereotype threat" and the ways we can help children overcome it.

Continue reading "Are confining social rules and stereotypes interfering with your child's intellectual growth?"

Jul 18, 2017

The authoritative parenting style

The authoritative parenting style emphasizes warmth, sensitivity, reasoning, and letting limits. It's frequently hailed as the best way to raise children.

But what exactly sets authoritative parenting apart?

How do experts decide if you're an authoritative parent, or practicing some other parenting style? And why, exactly, do researchers think authoritativeness breeds success?

Continue reading "The authoritative parenting style"

Jul 11, 2017

Why talking with our hands can help children reason and learn

The evidence is compelling. Children learn better when we talk with our hands. And kids who gesture themselves develop better skills.

Are you a gesturer? Is your child?

Read about the science of gesturing.

Continue reading "Why talking with our hands can help children reason and learn"

Jun 28, 2017

Working memory tips: Helping kids reach their full potential

Working memory is crucial for success. It's influences a child's ability to follow directions, learn to read, and achieve in mathematics.

What can adults do to help children improve their performance? Check out these 7 evidence-based tips.

Continue reading "Working memory tips: Helping kids reach their full potential"

Jun 20, 2017

Authoritarianism: How does it affect children?

In a world where authoritarian values threaten democracy and human rights, it's worth asking how authoritarian parenting affects kids.

Does it make a difference -- in children's behavior, achievements, and mental health?

Research suggests the answer is yes, and the outcomes aren't reassuring.

Kids raised by authoritarian parents tend to develop more behavior problems over time. They are also more likely to experience social and emotional difficulties. And they may even perform worse in the classroom.

Continue reading "Authoritarianism: How does it affect children?"

Jun 14, 2017

Understanding working memory in children

Why can't she stay on track? Why does he seem to forget your instructions? An up-to-date look at working memory -- what every parent needs to know.

Continue reading "Understanding working memory in children"

May 15, 2017

Troubleshooting your baby's sleep problems

If you are struggling with infant sleep problems, take a look at this evidence-based checklist of common roadblocks to better sleep.

Continue reading "Troubleshooting your baby's sleep problems"

Mar 14, 2017

Jettisoning the infant feeding schedule

Most experts recommend against adopting an infant feeding schedule, and with good reason. Babies are better off when they are fed on cue.

Continue reading "Jettisoning the infant feeding schedule"

Jan 24, 2017

Researchers seeking fathers for online study

Are you the father of one or more daughters? Investigators at the University of Ottawa are looking for volunteers to participate in an anonymous, online survey. For more information, follow this link.

Continue reading "Researchers seeking fathers for online study"

Dec 22, 2016

Creating a more civilized, peaceful world

How do we stop the spread of destructive, anti-social behavior? One place to begin is by providing children with the tools they need to become cooperative, reasonable, socially responsible, and self-controlled.

Continue reading "Creating a more civilized, peaceful world"

Dec 17, 2016

Parenting stress: 10 evidence-based tips for a better life

There's plenty to be stressed about. But there are concrete steps you can take to cope better, and stay strong.

Continue reading "Parenting stress: 10 evidence-based tips for a better life"

Dec 13, 2016

Why building blocks rock

It's universal, and it's powerful: Toy blocks and other construction toys can change the way kids think. Building projects stimulate creativity, and sharpen crucial skills.

Learn more about the science of block play -- why providing kids with construction toys is an excellent investment.

Continue reading "Why building blocks rock"

Dec 05, 2016

Improving spatial skills: 10 evidence-based tips

Babies aren't born with excellent spatial skills. Learn what adults can do to help kids to become savvy spatial problem solvers.

Continue reading "Improving spatial skills: 10 evidence-based tips"

Nov 01, 2016

Learning by doing: How outdoor play can prepare kids for achievement in STEM.

Intriguing research suggests that hands-on experiences have a special impact on the mind. What are the implications for outdoor play? Read more in this post I wrote for the Natural Start Alliance.

Continue reading "Learning by doing: How outdoor play can prepare kids for achievement in STEM."

Sep 19, 2016

Reinventing the Mother Ground

Today's children don't spend enough time outside, but whose fault is that? If we want to fix the problem, we need to consider the ancient support networks that helped our ancestors cope.

I first wrote about this several years ago. The Natural Start Alliance asked me to expand my discussion. Read more at this link.

Continue reading "Reinventing the Mother Ground"

May 05, 2016

Fight for your children's right to move and play - and raise smarter, healthier kids

Is your child stuck in a rut -- perhaps even a school system -- that leaves little time for exercise? When adults create environments that prevent kids from being active, we aren't only undermining their health. We're also making it harder for kids to succeed in school. Here's an updated look at what parents and policymakers need to know.

Continue reading "Fight for your children's right to move and play - and raise smarter, healthier kids"

Feb 17, 2016

Disruptive behavior problems: Evidence-based tips

Some kids are more prone to aggression, disruption, or acting out. How can we improve their behavior?

Continue reading "Disruptive behavior problems: Evidence-based tips"

Jan 27, 2016

Taming aggression in children: 5 crucial strategies for effective parenting

Good news from researchers who study aggression in children: By changing our mental habits, we can stop aggression before it erupts.

Continue reading "Taming aggression in children: 5 crucial strategies for effective parenting"

Jan 06, 2016

New year, new opportunities to improve your child's experiences at school

Here's a worthy new year's resolution: Help kids develop secure, supportive student-teacher relationships.

An updated look at the remarkable impact of positive personal connections.

Continue reading "New year, new opportunities to improve your child's experiences at school"

Dec 16, 2015

How construction play boosts creativity, language skills (and STEM skills too)

They might not be as flashy as electronic toys. But building blocks and bricks don't just entertain. Studies suggest they promote language development, social skills, spatial skills, and creativity -- especially when adults provide the right contexts.

Continue reading "How construction play boosts creativity, language skills (and STEM skills too)"

Dec 11, 2015

Toys for the brain: Raising young scientists, engineers, and architects

How to raise kids with STEM skills? The evidence continues to accumulate: Clues point to the power of Lego and construction play.

Continue reading "Toys for the brain: Raising young scientists, engineers, and architects"

Dec 07, 2015

Spatial intelligence: Making kids smarter through practice and play

Spatial skills crucial for success in many fields. Yet spatial training is often neglected at school. Can we help kids develop spatial intelligence? Experiments say "yes."

Continue reading "Spatial intelligence: Making kids smarter through practice and play"

Nov 30, 2015

Educational toys and games: An evidence-based guide

Parents hear a lot about the educational benefits of various games and toys. Which claims are backed up by science?

Continue reading "Educational toys and games: An evidence-based guide"

Nov 19, 2015

Can we teach self control?

Self-control is the key to social harmony and life success. But how do we foster self-discipline in children? Recent studies illustrate the benefits of timely reminders, games, and coaching.

Continue reading "Can we teach self control?"

Nov 05, 2015

Social skills activities

We want our children to succeed in the social world--to learn how to cooperate, make friends, and negotiate conflicts. We want them to develop strong perspective-taking skills, and treat other people with fairness and compassion.

How can we help them do it? See these evidence-based tips.

Continue reading "Social skills activities"

Oct 30, 2015

Infant crying: What can we do to stop it?

Singing to babies is more effective than talking? Read about this and other evidence-based observations in my updated look at why infants cry.

Continue reading "Infant crying: What can we do to stop it?"

Oct 22, 2015

The health benefits of religion: Are secular parents short-changing their kids

Despite sweeping claims about the health benefits of religion, there is little evidence to support the idea that religion is uniquely protective of health or happiness. What's more likely is that people benefit from the friendship, social support, and sense of belonging that religions provide.

Continue reading "The health benefits of religion: Are secular parents short-changing their kids"

Oct 16, 2015

Cognitive development before kindergarten: Are kids smarter than they seem?

Folk wisdom and classic research paints the same dim picture of early cognitive development: Young children are illogical and incapable of reason. But in recent years, scientists are piecing together a very different view.

Continue reading "Cognitive development before kindergarten: Are kids smarter than they seem?"

Oct 09, 2015

Baby talk

All around the world, people use a special register when they speak to the very young. Some think it's cute, others may find it annoying. But babies love it, and research suggests it helps babies learn to talk. Here's the latest news about a very ancient practice.

Continue reading "Baby talk"

Oct 02, 2015

The social abilities of newborns: Why babies are born ready to learn from our sensitive, loving interactions

In times past, some people believed that newborns were effectively mindless -- tiny survival machines that depended on us for food and shelter. But the studies cited here confirm that newborn babies are fundamentally social creatures. They seem designed to listen to speech, to seek out and differentiate faces, and to expect responsive social partners.

Here's an up-to-date look at the remarkable abilities of newborns -- and their readiness to learn.

Continue reading "The social abilities of newborns: Why babies are born ready to learn from our sensitive, loving interactions"






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