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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Nov 01, 2019

Homework for young children: Is it justified?

Some schools assign homework to children as young as 5 or 6. But there isn't any compelling research that homework for young children is helpful.

Continue reading "Homework for young children: Is it justified?"

Oct 25, 2019

Preschool number activities

Counting isn't enough! Kids also need to develop "number sense." Here are 6 preschool number activities-- inspired by discoveries in cognitive psychology.

Continue reading "Preschool number activities"

Oct 15, 2019

Bed-wetting (nocturnal enuresis) in children: An evidence-based guide

Bed-wetting (or sleep enuresis) is a medical condition, not a behavior problem. What causes bed-wetting? What are the most effective, evidence-based therapies?

Continue reading "Bed-wetting (nocturnal enuresis) in children: An evidence-based guide"

Oct 02, 2019

The benefits of fantasy fiction and imaginative play

Are kids confused by fairy tales? Is reading fantasy fiction a waste of time? No. Studies suggest fantasy can boost creativity, learning, and self-regulation.

Continue reading "The benefits of fantasy fiction and imaginative play"

Sep 20, 2019

Moral sense: Babies prefer underdogs and do-gooders

Do babies possess a sense of morality? They seem to care about victims, and they prefer individuals who treat others with kindness and fairness.

Continue reading "Moral sense: Babies prefer underdogs and do-gooders"

Sep 06, 2019

Do babies feel empathy?

Yes, babies feel empathy. They can "catch" other people's emotions. They show sympathy, and even offer to help. But their behavior depends on how we treat them.

Continue reading "Do babies feel empathy?"

Aug 05, 2019

Online parenting studies: Researchers seeking volunteers

Want to participate in scientific research? Read more about the latest online parenting studies.

Continue reading "Online parenting studies: Researchers seeking volunteers"

Jul 19, 2019

The permissive parenting style: Does it ever benefit kids?

The permissive parenting style has been linked with optimal child outcomes, but it depends on how you define "permissive." Kids benefit when we're less bossy.

Continue reading "The permissive parenting style: Does it ever benefit kids?"

Jul 12, 2019

Preschool cognitive development: Are kids smarter than they seem?

Kids make strange errors, but not because they're clueless. Studies of cognitive development suggest we're partly to blame. We're testing them the wrong way.

Continue reading "Preschool cognitive development: Are kids smarter than they seem?"

Jul 04, 2019

Stop the abuse and neglect going on in U.S. border detention centers

Demand that politicians put an end to the dangerous, heart-breaking human rights violations going on in U.S. border detention centers.

Continue reading "Stop the abuse and neglect going on in U.S. border detention centers"

Jun 20, 2019

Motor milestones: How do babies develop during the first two years?

Motor milestones mark exciting transitions in a baby’s life, but there’s no universal schedule that all babies follow. What’s normal, and how parents support healthy development?

Continue reading "Motor milestones: How do babies develop during the first two years?"

Jun 14, 2019

Secure attachment relationships protect kids from toxic stress

Emotional support helps children recover from stress. But is there more? Maybe secure attachment relationships help kids develop the power to self-soothe.

Continue reading "Secure attachment relationships protect kids from toxic stress"

Jun 07, 2019

The science of gestures: We learn faster when we talk with our hands

Gestures aren't just hand-waving. Learn how hand movements can help babies, school children, and even adults learn.

Continue reading "The science of gestures: We learn faster when we talk with our hands"

Jun 07, 2019

Why kids need daylight to thrive and learn: The benefits of light

Why do kids need daylight? Studies suggest that bright light boosts mood and concentration. It may help prevent disease, and enhance our ability to learn.

Continue reading "Why kids need daylight to thrive and learn: The benefits of light"

May 31, 2019

How to prevent summer learning loss (and still have fun)

During summer break, kids can forget what they've learned at school, falling months behind. But studies suggest we can prevent summer learning loss. Here's how.

Continue reading "How to prevent summer learning loss (and still have fun)"

May 22, 2019

How television affects sleep -- and what we can do to sleep better

How does television affect sleep? In adults, it can push back bedtimes and disrupt sleep patterns. In young children, even more can go wrong. Here's what to look out for.

Continue reading "How television affects sleep -- and what we can do to sleep better"

May 03, 2019

Vitamin A supplements: Is your kid getting too much vitamin A?

Vitamin A supplements are helpful if you have a deficiency. But healthy, well-nourished children don't need supplements, and may actually be getting too much vitamin A.

Continue reading "Vitamin A supplements: Is your kid getting too much vitamin A?"

Apr 26, 2019

Teaching self-control: Evidence-based tips

Teaching self-control? Kids benefit when we remove temptations and distractions; offer timely reminders; and show kids how to stick to a plan. See these tips.

Continue reading "Teaching self-control: Evidence-based tips"

Apr 22, 2019

Celebrate Earth Day, get involved in political change

On this Earth Day, let's remember that one of our most important duties as parents is to pressure policymakers.

Our kids can't vote. They can’t stop politicians from denying children their birthright – a society that pulls together to fight the disastrous consequences of pollution and climate change. But we can.

Continue reading "Celebrate Earth Day, get involved in political change"

Apr 12, 2019

12 benefits of outdoor play (and tips to help your child get them)

What do studies tell us about the benefits of outdoor play? Here are 12 ways that outdoor time can make kids healthier, happier, and smarter.

Continue reading "12 benefits of outdoor play (and tips to help your child get them)"

Apr 05, 2019

Nightmares and night terrors in children: Causes and treatments

Night terrors in children are surprisingly common, though not as prevalent as nightmares. How do we tell the difference, and what can parents do to cope?

Continue reading "Nightmares and night terrors in children: Causes and treatments"

Mar 29, 2019

Correcting behavior: How to help kids learn from their mistakes

Correcting behavior? Studies suggest the best approach is positive and constructive. When kids make mistakes, we should ask them to think about solutions.

Continue reading "Correcting behavior: How to help kids learn from their mistakes"

Mar 22, 2019

Spanking children: Why does it happen, and what are the effects?

What does research tell us about spanking children? As a discipline tactic, it isn't very effective. And studies indicate that spanking can cause lasting harm.

Continue reading "Spanking children: Why does it happen, and what are the effects?"

Mar 16, 2019

Spanking babies: Is it okay to spank an infant?

No, spanking babies is a bad idea. Our forager ancestors rejected it, and so should we. Here’s why spanking is counterproductive – and damaging.

Continue reading "Spanking babies: Is it okay to spank an infant?"

Mar 08, 2019

Infant potty training: An alternative to elimination communication

Looking for an alternative method of infant potty training? This method, tested by researchers, is safe for babies who can sit up unassisted.

Continue reading "Infant potty training: An alternative to elimination communication"

Feb 28, 2019

Bullying in school: An evidence-based guide to interventions that work

How can we stop bullying in school? Studies favor school programs that feature teacher training, positive discipline, playground monitoring, and zero tolerance.

Continue reading "Bullying in school: An evidence-based guide to interventions that work"

Feb 21, 2019

When do babies crawl, and how does crawling develop? (illustrated)

When do babies crawl? Most babies start between 6-11 months, but it’s perfectly normal for infants to skip crawling, and favor other ways of getting around.

Continue reading "When do babies crawl, and how does crawling develop? (illustrated)"

Feb 14, 2019

Stricter gun regulations can save children's lives

One year after the Parkland shooting, polls show a waning public interest in gun control legislation. Yet the threat hasn't changed, and neither have the facts. When governments enforce stricter gun regulations, fewer kids die.

Continue reading "Stricter gun regulations can save children's lives"

Feb 08, 2019

Breastfeeding on demand: Benefits, questions, and evidence-based tips

Breastfeeding on demand is the ideal way to keep milk production in sync with a baby's needs. It helps ensure that babies get enough milk, and it might benefit emotional and cognitive development. Learn about hunger cues and the need for maternal helpers. Tips for coping.

Continue reading "Breastfeeding on demand: Benefits, questions, and evidence-based tips"

Jan 31, 2019

What's wrong with classroom behavior charts: Why shaming backfires

What's wrong with classroom behavior charts? Shaming induces toxic stress, and it can make kids behave worse, not better. Read what experiments on children have to teach us about inducing shame -- and finding better, more constructive ways to shape behavior.

Continue reading "What's wrong with classroom behavior charts: Why shaming backfires"

Jan 24, 2019

When children are really difficult

Is it your fault if your kid throws angry tantrums, lashes out at others, destroys property?

Society is quick to point the finger at caregivers, but some children are much harder to parent than others.

Here's a reminder that you shouldn't take it personally. You've got a tougher job -- and research can help you find ways to cope.

Continue reading "When children are really difficult"

Jan 17, 2019

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

An updated and expanded look at postpartum depression. When is it more than "baby blues"? When will it get better? And who's at risk for the most severe, longlasting symptoms?

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

Jan 11, 2019

Hear Gwen discuss baby signing on NPR radio

I recently discussed the phenomenon of baby signing with Jeremy Hobson, on NPR's radio program, "Here and Now."

You can listen to the podcast here.

Continue reading "Hear Gwen discuss baby signing on NPR radio"

Jan 08, 2019

Can babies sign before they can speak?

Can babies sign before they can speak? To date, studies have failed to find compelling evidence in favor of the idea. And there's reason for doubt: Research confirms that babies start practicing spoken language at an early age.

Continue reading "Can babies sign before they can speak?"

Jan 01, 2019

How to start babies on solid food: An evidence-based guide

When to start solids depends on your baby’s developmental skills, and on whether or not you want to offer your baby finger foods. These evidence-based tips explain how to start babies on solid food, what to expect, and how to cope with a baby’s negative reactions.

Continue reading "How to start babies on solid food: An evidence-based guide "

Dec 18, 2018

Baby sign language: A guide for the science-minded parent

What is baby sign language? Should we teach our babies to sign? There’s no compelling evidence that baby signing programs yield long-term developmental benefits. But there is good reason to think that our everyday, spontaneous, pantomime-like gestures help babies learn.

Continue reading "Baby sign language: A guide for the science-minded parent"

Dec 13, 2018

Sensitive, responsive parenting: What are the health benefits?

Does sensitive, responsive parenting help protect kids from a lifetime of bad health? It seems likely. Studies suggest that parents can act as a buffer against harmful, chronic stress.

Continue reading "Sensitive, responsive parenting: What are the health benefits?"

Dec 06, 2018

Dinosaur replay: Getting kids hooked on science

Just in time for the holidays, here is a reminder: How to turn your child's love for dinosaurs into something even bigger.

Continue reading "Dinosaur replay: Getting kids hooked on science"

Nov 29, 2018

Parenting stress: 10 tips for coping

At this time of year, it's good to remember these tips for handling stress

Continue reading "Parenting stress: 10 tips for coping"

Nov 23, 2018

STEM books for kids (and other resources too)

How can we boost a child's interest in physics, computer science, evolution, or mathematics? Here are some recommended resources.

https://www.parentingscience.com/STEM-books-for-kids.html

Continue reading "STEM books for kids (and other resources too)"