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Jan 11, 2018
Talking to babies: How friendly eye contact can make infants tune in -- and mirror your brain waves
New brain research suggests that when we talk to babies, eye contact is a crucial cue. It appears to be the signal for babies to pay deep attention -- and syncronize their brain activity with ours.
Read more about it in my latest piece.
Continue reading "Talking to babies: How friendly eye contact can make infants tune in -- and mirror your brain waves"
Jan 04, 2018
Tech before bedtime: Do electronic media devices cause sleep problems in children?
Is your child resisting bedtime? Sleeping poorly? Excessively sleepy during the day? Electronic media could be partly to blame.
Blue light emitted by electronic screens can reprogram the brain, delaying the release of melatonin, the hormone of drowsiness.
In addition, stimulating media content may make it harder for kids to fall asleep, and even contribute to nightmares.
Here is a guide to the evidence, and some tips for ensuring your children get the sleep they need.
Continue reading "Tech before bedtime: Do electronic media devices cause sleep problems in children?"
Dec 20, 2017
Is that sing-song "baby talk" voice good for babies?
It's probably the weirdest form of baby communication -- that high-pitched, musical voice that repeats words and overemphasizes emotions.
Does this happen to you?
You might feel silly, but take comfort in the fact that you're not alone. Mothers do it. Fathers do it. Children do it. People lacking experience with babies do it. And babies prefer it.
They even appear to learn from it.
Continue reading "Is that sing-song "baby talk" voice good for babies?"
Dec 14, 2017
Can Lego bricks and other construction toys boost your child's STEM skills?
Where does mechanical aptitude come from? What makes some kids excel in STEM, architecture, or design?Studies suggest that early experiences with construction -- designing new creations, and following blueprints -- hone crucial spatial skills.
Continue reading "Can Lego bricks and other construction toys boost your child's STEM skills?"
Dec 11, 2017
Please defend net neutrality. It allows websites like this one to exist!
I don't usually write about topics like this. This isn't a tech blog. But in the United States, the FCC is planning to dismantle current rules for net neutrality.
Such a plan could make Parenting Science unviable. Indeed, the dismantling of net neutrality rules could put many of your favorite content creators out of business, and stifle innovation in the future. So it seems stupid not to share the news with my readers, many of whom live in the United States.
What is all this about? What can we do about it? Here is my understanding of the situation.
Continue reading "Please defend net neutrality. It allows websites like this one to exist!"
Dec 07, 2017
Cooperative board games for kids
Preschoolers prefer cooperative board games, and older kids benefit too. Read how these fun games can help kids hone critical thinking skills and forge friendly relationships.
Continue reading "Cooperative board games for kids"
Nov 27, 2017
STEM books for kids (and some games too): Recommendations from Parenting Science
A round-up of recommendations, some found previously in the pages of Parenting Science, others new.
Continue reading "STEM books for kids (and some games too): Recommendations from Parenting Science"
Nov 22, 2017
The effects of praise: 7 evidence-based tips for praising kids the right way
The effects of praise aren't always good. What can we do to make sure praise helps, and doesn't hurt?
Continue reading "The effects of praise: 7 evidence-based tips for praising kids the right way"
Nov 16, 2017
How kids learn math and science: Stimulate learning by asking kids to explain
Research suggests we can help kids learn math and science by asking them to explain and teach. But there are pitfalls. Here's how to strike the right balance.
Continue reading "How kids learn math and science: Stimulate learning by asking kids to explain"
Nov 09, 2017
When bullies bully others
Bully-victims tend to be the most psychologically disturbed kids in school. Left alone, they don't improve, and they pose risks to themselves and others. We can't afford to ignore their problems.
Continue reading "When bullies bully others"
Nov 02, 2017
Paleontology and dinosaurs for kids: Tips for getting children hooked on science
Your child's natural interest in dinosaurs is an outstanding opportunity to teach lessons about biology, evolution, and science. But kids won't learn these things on their own. They might even pick up misconceptions.
Here's an evidence-based guide for turning your young dinosaur enthusiast into a budding scientist.
Continue reading "Paleontology and dinosaurs for kids: Tips for getting children hooked on science"
Oct 25, 2017
Attachment Parenting: What is it, and what are its effects?
Attachment parenting has been the subject of controversy. What does the research tell us? How does it affect kids?
Not surprisingly, it depends on how we define "attachment parenting."
Continue reading "Attachment Parenting: What is it, and what are its effects?"
Oct 19, 2017
Can we prevent bullying? Evidence-based insights and tips
Research has some clear messages for us, if only we will listen.
Here is an overview of efforts to stop bullying and change the way kids behave: What approaches have worked, what hasn't worked, and what might work in the future.
Continue reading "Can we prevent bullying? Evidence-based insights and tips"
Oct 11, 2017
What does the evidence tell us about feeding newborns?
The best bet is to feed newborns whenever they show signs of hunger, and end feeding sessions when they indicate they've had enough. It's also important for breastfeeding women to feed frequently, to stimulate the production of mature milk.
But should we put all the pressure on exhausted new mothers? I can find no evidence in favor of denying mothers a 4 hour stretch of postpartum sleep. And there is little reason to suppose that doing so represents the "natural" state for human kind.
Here are tips for how to read a baby's hunger cues, and feed in ways that will help infants get what they need.
Continue reading "What does the evidence tell us about feeding newborns?"
Oct 04, 2017
Television violence: Do kids (and adults) like it?
Studies suggest that both children and adults are happier when they reduce exposure to violent content. Yet kids' programming may have higher rates of violence than does programming aimed at adults.
Continue reading "Television violence: Do kids (and adults) like it?"
Sep 26, 2017
Preschool number activities
Can we help young children prepare for achievement in mathematics? Research suggests the answer is yes. Here are 6, evidence-based, preschool number activities to try at home.
Continue reading "Preschool number activities"
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."