The Parenting Science News Feed

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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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?"

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?"





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