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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.
Continue reading "STEM books for kids (and other resources too)"
Nov 14, 2018
Tangrams for kids: Educational tips and a printable template
Working on tangram puzzles may boost a child's spatial skills, and even enhance a child's math performance.
How do we help kids get started? Here are some evidence-based tips about tangrams for kids, and a printable tangram template.
Continue reading "Tangrams for kids: Educational tips and a printable template"
Nov 08, 2018
What happens when adults lie to children?
When adults lie to children, does it set a bad example? Research suggests the effects depend on a child's age. But overall, the effects are negative. When kids discover we'd lied to them, they become less trusting and less truthful in their dealings with us.
Continue reading "What happens when adults lie to children?"
Nov 01, 2018
What is colic? An evidence-based guide to excessive infant crying
What is colic? Colicky babies cry excessively and inconsolably, and may suffer from underlying medical conditions. Learn what's normal, what's not, and why you should talk to your doctor if you observe signs of colic.
Continue reading "What is colic? An evidence-based guide to excessive infant crying"
Oct 25, 2018
Why kids rebel: What kids believe about the legitimacy of authority
They aren’t anarchists; nor are they scheming to run the world. On the contrary, kids – even teenagers – are ready to be cooperative. But they recognize limits to our power, and when we overreach those limits, kids regard reject our authority as illegitimate.
Continue reading "Why kids rebel: What kids believe about the legitimacy of authority"
Oct 19, 2018
Vote for a better future
We must hold our politicians accountable, because our kids cannot. Vote for representatives who respect facts and democratic norms. People who reject science must not control our children’s future.
Continue reading "Vote for a better future"
Oct 11, 2018
Compassionate deception: Do children tell lies to be kind?
Do children tell prosocial lies – lies intended to protect another person from harm? Fascinating experiments indicate that many kids are capable of this by the age of 7, and some children show the capacity even earlier.
Continue reading "Compassionate deception: Do children tell lies to be kind?"
Oct 04, 2018
Punitive environments encourage children to tell lies
It's not unusual for kids to tell lies, but their readiness to deceive depends on the social environment. When adults attempt to control children through threats and punishments, kids are more likely to cover-up their transgressions. What can we do about it?
Continue reading "Punitive environments encourage children to tell lies"
Sep 28, 2018
At what age do children begin to tell lies?
When do children start telling lies? Some begin before they are two and a half. Others take longer. But by the age of four, most kids lie at least sometimes, and no, it isn’t moral failing. Children begin to experiment with lying as they develop new cognitive skills.
Continue reading "At what age do children begin to tell lies?"
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?"