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.

If you’d like to subscribe to the Parenting Science news feed, RIGHT-click on the RSS button (the last black button listed under the heading "Follow Us" to the right of this text) and paste the URL into your RSS reader.

Alternatively, if you have a social media account, you can follow this site by clicking on one of the Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest buttons.

Don't see anything new?

Click your browser's refresh button to check for recent updates.

Sep 19, 2018

Marshmallow test: Delayed gratification isn't just about willpower

The marshmallow test is supposed to measure a child's willingness to delay gratification. But delayed gratification isn’t always a matter of willpower. When adults appear unreliable – or downright untrustworthy – kids choose instant rewards over future benefits.

Continue reading "Marshmallow test: Delayed gratification isn't just about willpower "

Sep 12, 2018

Growth mindset: Can a theory of intelligence really boost achievement?

What you believe about cognitive performance -- the theory of intelligence that you adopt -- can have brain-altering effects, and enhance your ability to learn. Yet programs designed to instill the right, "growth mindset" in students haven't always worked. Why not?

Continue reading "Growth mindset: Can a theory of intelligence really boost achievement?"

Sep 05, 2018

Student-teacher relationships: Why emotional support matters

Supportive student-teacher relationships improve motivation, inspire achievement, and protect children from toxic stress. But many kids don't get the chance to form such bonds. Teacher burnout, counter-productive disciplinary practices, and racial biases get in the way.

Continue reading "Student-teacher relationships: Why emotional support matters"

Aug 29, 2018

The authoritarian parenting style: What does it look like?

Experts recommend against the authoritarian parenting style. It’s linked with inferior outcomes for kids. But what’s the difference between firm and authoritarian? How can you tell if you’ve crossed the line? Learn how researchers identify authoritarian parenting.

Continue reading "The authoritarian parenting style: What does it look like?"

Aug 22, 2018

Spatial intelligence: What is it, and how can we enhance it?

Spatial intelligence is crucial for success in many fields, ranging from science and engineering to construction and graphic design. Can we improve spatial skills? Experiments say yes. Learn what you can do to stimulate spatial awareness in both children and adults.

Continue reading "Spatial intelligence: What is it, and how can we enhance it?"

Aug 15, 2018

The benefits of toy blocks: The science of construction play

Playing with toy blocks helps kids develop better motor and spatial skills. It may also boost creativity, focus, and mathematical ability. But to unleash these benefits, kids need to do more than move blocks around. Learn how to make block play more stimulating and engaging.

Continue reading "The benefits of toy blocks: The science of construction play"

Aug 08, 2018

How video games affect school performance

Frequent play can cause problems – if kids play so much that they neglect their school work or lose sleep.

But certain video games can boost spatial skills, and there is evidence that moderate usage of video games could actually enhance school performance.

Continue reading "How video games affect school performance"

Aug 01, 2018

Positive parenting tips

Positive parenting is more effective than punitive discipline, and it helps buffer kids from toxic stress. How can you make it work? Check out these positive parenting tips.

Continue reading "Positive parenting tips"

Jul 27, 2018

Can babies tell when parents are fighting?

Lots of angry arguments at home? Studies suggest that babies can tell when parents are fighting -- and this early life stress may alter an infant's brain. How can we protect infants from this toxic stress?

Continue reading "Can babies tell when parents are fighting?"

Jul 19, 2018

Can babies sense our stress?

Yes! And in fact babies don't just detect our tension. They are affected by it. Stress is contagious.

It's one more reason to look after your own well-being -- and to calm down before interacting with your child.

Continue reading "Can babies sense our stress?"

Jul 11, 2018

Emotion coaching: Helping kids cope with negative feelings

Kids do better in life when they have parents who provide them with emotion coaching.

But what is "emotion coaching?" How do we know it works? And how can we become more effective coaches?

Continue reading "Emotion coaching: Helping kids cope with negative feelings"

Jul 05, 2018

Fun activities to help kids communicate, negotiate, and connect

How can we teach kids to get along with others?

Communicate, negotiate, read minds, make friends?

These research-inspired social skills activities can help. Tips for babies, children, and teens.

Continue reading "Fun activities to help kids communicate, negotiate, and connect"

Jul 02, 2018

Help children separated at the border from their parents by the US government

Dear U.S. readers:

More than 2,000 children are still separated from their parents. Every day that goes by is another day of anguish for these families, and the long-term risks increase.

The government failed to put an effective system in place that would allow for tracking children and connecting them with their parents.

Where the government is failing, however, attorneys and nonprofit organizations can help. They work on behalf of specific families, and help parents navigate the bureaucracy to find their children.

So we can help by donating money to organizations doing this work (for a list of them, see the charity donations page on the ActBlue link below).

We can also help by pressuring politicians to make ending family separations top priority.

Continue reading "Help children separated at the border from their parents by the US government"

Jun 27, 2018

15 Evidence-based baby sleep tips

Whether it's the crazy-making, nocturnal schedule of the newborn, or an older baby who won't get settled, the results are the same: A parent who is sleep-deprived and desperate for relief.

What's a parent to do? Learning about the science of infant sleep can help. Once you understand how, why, and when babies sleep, it will be easier for you to decide on the best sleep strategies for your family. It may also bring you peace of mind.

Continue reading "15 Evidence-based baby sleep tips"

Jun 22, 2018

Thousands of immigrant children still separated and needing our help

Don't be misled: Thousands of immigrant children in the U.S. are still separated from their parents. They need to be reunited with their parents as soon as possible. We can help them by keeping the pressure on politicians.

Continue reading "Thousands of immigrant children still separated and needing our help"

Jun 13, 2018

Finding the right infant sleep aid: Which ones work?

It seems like everyone wants to sell you a device or technique that will make your baby sleep. What does the research tell us?

Here's a look at infant sleep aids: The promising, the not-so-promising, and hazards to avoid.

Continue reading "Finding the right infant sleep aid: Which ones work?"

Jun 05, 2018

Dream feeding: An evidence-based guide to helping babies sleep longer

The goal of dream feeding is get your baby to eat a large meal immediately before you yourself fall asleep. Will it help? There's reason to think so. But it probably won't have a big impact on its own. For best results, use dream feeding with other sleep-friendly practices.

Here is an overview of the subject -- the definitions, the evidence, the pros and cons, and frequently asked questions.

Continue reading "Dream feeding: An evidence-based guide to helping babies sleep longer"

May 23, 2018

The Mozart effect, Shmozart effect: Fact or fiction?

Claims about Mozart's music have fueled a mini-industry of "smart baby" products and developmental toys.

Is there strong evidence to back these claims up?

It looks as if listening to certain kinds of music can sometimes produce a small, temporary boost in visual-spatial reasoning. It may also deliver some health benefits, including benefits to people suffering from anxiety, hypertension, or epilepsy.

But overall, the observed outcomes don't seem to depend on listening to Mozart specifically.

Other types of music -- including rock music -- may produce similar results.

Continue reading "The Mozart effect, Shmozart effect: Fact or fiction?"

May 18, 2018

Stanford researchers seeking participants for online study

Researchers are looking for volunteers to answer an online questionnaire.

For more information, click the link below.

Continue reading "Stanford researchers seeking participants for online study"

May 16, 2018

Potty training problems and solutions

What should we do when kids act anxious? Refuse to sit on the potty? Refuse to use the potty?

Here is an evidence-based guide to coping with common potty training problems.

Continue reading "Potty training problems and solutions"

May 09, 2018

What's normal? An evidence-based baby sleep chart

How long do babies sleep at night? How many naps do they take during the day?

This evidence-based baby sleep chart explains the typical range of variation for babies up to 24 months old.

Continue reading "What's normal? An evidence-based baby sleep chart"

May 01, 2018

Baby sleep patterns for the science-minded

How do baby sleep patterns change over time, and what can parents do to help babies sleep more peacefully? A new, evidence-based guide to understanding your baby's quirky sleep habits.

Continue reading "Baby sleep patterns for the science-minded"

Apr 23, 2018

Prenatal learning: Do "pregnancy foods" affect babies' eating habits?

Babies learn about flavors even before they are born.

For instance, studies suggest that a prenatal diet rich in fruits and vegetables may make babies more positively-inclined to try these foods when they are older.

And babies exposed to alcohol prenatally may develop a liking for its odor. Read more in this up-to-date review of the evidence.

Continue reading "Prenatal learning: Do "pregnancy foods" affect babies' eating habits?"

Apr 16, 2018

Flavors in breast milk: Can babies taste what their mothers ate for lunch?

Flavors in breast milk is a real thing.

Your baby probably isn't mulling it over with the vocabulary of a foodie, but the basic notion isn't far-fetched. A mother's diet really can affect the taste of her milk, and babies don't just notice these flavors. They also respond to them. Here's how we know.

Continue reading "Flavors in breast milk: Can babies taste what their mothers ate for lunch?"

Apr 12, 2018

Help researchers study the effects of smart phones on parent - child relationships

Researchers at the University of Sutherland are looking for volunteers to take their survey. Read more about it here.

Continue reading "Help researchers study the effects of smart phones on parent - child relationships"

Apr 04, 2018

Postpartum depression symptoms: When is it more than the "baby blues"?

Postpartum depression symptoms overlap with symptoms of the "baby blues," the mood swings that mothers experience in the first few days after childbirth.

But when symptoms persist beyond two weeks -- or take a more severe turn -- it's time to get screened for depression.

Continue reading "Postpartum depression symptoms: When is it more than the "baby blues"?"

Mar 28, 2018

Violent video games: Do they have any negative effects on kids?

The research on video games doesn't lend itself to easy conclusions, nor does it support extreme views.

On the one hand, there is no convincing evidence that playing these games leads kids to commit serious acts of violence.

On the other hand, there is evidence that violent games have short term effects on behavior, and there is still a lot we don't know.

There are different types and degrees of violence, and it's reasonable to think that these differences may have different effects on players. But studies often lump together a variety of games, which makes it hard for us to know which, if any, are especially problematic.

Continue reading "Violent video games: Do they have any negative effects on kids?"

Mar 21, 2018

When do babies say their first words?

Most babies can say at least one or two words by the end of their first year.

But experiments suggest that many babies have the understanding and rudimentary production skills to use words months earlier -- as early as 6 months.

Continue reading "When do babies say their first words?"

Mar 15, 2018

Stopping gun violence: What do we owe to our children?

The United States has a special problem with gun violence. But there are plenty of facts to guide us to a solution. If partisans can find this common ground and cooperate, they can start to make the world much safer for children.

Continue reading "Stopping gun violence: What do we owe to our children?"

Mar 14, 2018

Stopping gun violence: What do we owe to our children?

The United States has a special problem with gun violence. But there are plenty of facts to guide us to a solution. If partisans can find this common ground and cooperate, they can start to make the world much safer for children.

Continue reading "Stopping gun violence: What do we owe to our children?"

Mar 08, 2018

Bright light, bright mind: Why kids need daylight to thrive and learn

Getting lots of daylight shouldn't be a luxury. Studies suggest it has a big impact on the way children adapt, grow, and learn.

Continue reading "Bright light, bright mind: Why kids need daylight to thrive and learn"

Feb 28, 2018

What causes colic in babies?

According to a popular definition, colic is excessive crying or fussing in an otherwise healthy baby.

It's the catch-all term doctors use to describe intense, inconsolable crying when they aren't immediately sure what's going on.

So there isn't any single solution or remedy. But recent research points to new answers. Many babies may harbor an unfavorable balance of bacteria in their colons, leading to inflammation and pain in the abdomen. Other babies may suffer from migraines -- or development lags in their ability to bounce back from distress.

Learn more in my new article about infantile colic.

Continue reading "What causes colic in babies?"

Feb 22, 2018

Parenting styles: A guide for the science-minded

What's your parenting style? Can you combine more than one style? And does it really make a difference?

Here's an up-to-date look at the evidence.

Continue reading "Parenting styles: A guide for the science-minded"

Feb 14, 2018

Outdoor learning and green time: How kids benefit from learning and playing in nature

Studies show that learning and playing outdoors boosts concentration and motivation -- and defuses stress.

Brief nature walks can enhance attention and reduce symptoms of ADHD. Gazing at greenery can reduce stress and sharpen focus. And teaching students outdoors can increase their engagement with school work -- even after they come back inside. Read more about it, and help kids tap into the power of nature experiences.

Continue reading "Outdoor learning and green time: How kids benefit from learning and playing in nature"

Feb 07, 2018

Deciphering facial expressions for kids: Can we help children read emotions?

Reading faces requires attention, sensitivity, and learning, but it really pays off. Kids who are good at interpreting facial expressions have fewer behavior problems and less conflict with peers.

It's normal for young children to have trouble interpreting certain facial expressions. The skill develops gradually. When does it all come together, and how can we help them learn?

Continue reading "Deciphering facial expressions for kids: Can we help children read emotions?"

Jan 31, 2018

Mind-minded parenting: Does attuned, "mental talk" help children bond and learn?

Research indicates that insightful, mentalistic talk helps young children build secure relationships, stronger social skills -- and maybe even better self-control. And it all begins during infancy.

Continue reading "Mind-minded parenting: Does attuned, "mental talk" help children bond and learn?"

Jan 26, 2018

What parenting practices are acceptable to you?

Researchers at Colorado State University are interested in cultural differences regarding parenting. Currently, their focus is on people living in certain Western countries.

If you are a parent from the USA, Canada, Australia, or Western Europe, they would be interested in having you answer some questions online. Read more on my round-up page of online parenting studies.

Continue reading "What parenting practices are acceptable to you?"

Jan 18, 2018

Is your child securely attached?

We hear a lot about "secure attachment relationships." But what exactly do researchers mean by this term? How do they judge if a child is securely attached? And what can we do to nurture secure attachments?

Continue reading "Is your child securely attached?"

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?"



Share
Additional Info