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Parents Spend $1,360 Per Year For…

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Surveys show that raising a child to age 18 will likely cost parents around $250,000. But in addition to child care, food, health care and other essentials, it looks like $1,360 a year is paid in cash to children under 10, either in the form of weekly allowance, cash gifts, or out-and-out bribes for good behavior, according to a new survey. Coupon site vouchercloud.net surveyed 2,173 parents, and found that they paid out about $113 each month to each child under 10. (No word on what parents are shelling out for tweens and teens!) But it seems much of that is under duress—two thirds of those surveyed wished that they didn’t hand over so much cash to their kids.

An allowance presents a good opportunity to help teach children about fiscal responsibility, and allowing them to learn to save their money toward financial goals, before they get access to credit or that very first real paycheck. And apparently, more parents are trying to start that financial education early.

How financially savvy are you with your paycheck? Take our quiz to find out!

Manners & Responsibility:  Should You Tie Allowance to Chores?
Manners & Responsibility:  Should You Tie Allowance to Chores?
Manners & Responsibility: Should You Tie Allowance to Chores?

Image: Girl with bank by Gelpi JM/Shutterstock.com

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Math and Reading Skills Are Affected by the Same Genes

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

A point against the idea that there’s a good-at-math gene you’re lacking—scientists have discovered that many of the genes that influence a child’s math ability also impact their skill at reading. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, compared DNA and math and reading test results for nearly 2,800 12-year-olds in the UK, looking for DNA differences and how skills matched up.

Of course, there isn’t complete overlap (could that account for the lack of math or language prowess in an otherwise brilliant person?)—and the study authors also found that nurture can also play a role in whether your child becomes the next Einstein or Shakespeare.

“We looked at this question in two ways, by comparing the similarity of thousands of twins, and by measuring millions of tiny differences in their DNA. Both analyses show that similar collections of subtle DNA differences are important for reading and maths,” study author Oliver Davis, of University College London, said in a school news release.

“However, it’s also clear just how important our life experience is in making us better at one or the other. It’s this complex interplay of nature and nurture as we grow up that shapes who we are.”

Not sure where your child’s talents lie? Take our quiz.

What Kids Like (And Don't Like) About School
What Kids Like (And Don't Like) About School
What Kids Like (And Don't Like) About School

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Overscheduling Kids Could Slow Development of Problem-Solving Skills

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

If you ever needed an excuse not to sign up for soccer and karate and piano lessons, here it is: A new study published in Frontiers in Psychology suggests that overscheduling kids impairs their ability to develop executive functions. (That’s a series of essential skills, including self direction, problem solving, and decision making.) That’s on top of a previous study, published last year in Parenting: Science and Practice, that showed that preschoolers whose parents directed their play were less happy than those who were given free rein to play what they wanted.

The study involved 70 six-year-olds, whose parents recorded their children’s daily activities for a week, and they were rated as structured vs. free play. Those who had more free play performed better on a test where they were asked to name as many animals as they could in a minute, because they were better able to organize their thoughts and produce more answers.

So maybe cutting back on the classes could do more for your kids in the long run.

Are you a helicopter parent? Find out with our quiz.

Playing With Baby: Memory Building Activities
Playing With Baby: Memory Building Activities
Playing With Baby: Memory Building Activities

Image: Kids playing by Sergey Novikov/Shutterstock.com

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Don’t Use Sunscreen Spray on Your Kids!

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Those sunscreen sprays may be handy, but could they be dangerous for your kids? That’s the concern behind an ongoing Food and Drug Administration investigation, which is looking into whether inhaling the spray ingredients could be harmful to your health.

And that’s why Consumer Reports is now recommending that you don’t use sunscreen spray on the kids, until the investigation is complete. (And the American Academy of Dermatology also raises concerns.) “We now say that until the FDA completes its analysis, the products should generally not be used by or on children,” says Consumer Reports. “We have also removed one sunscreen spray — Ocean Potion Kids Instant Dry Mist SPF 50 — from the group of recommended sunscreens in our sunscreen Ratings, because it is marketed especially for children.”

Another concern with sunscreen spray cited by the the American Academy of Dermatology is that it’s harder to tell if you’ve put on enough when you’re spraying it, so you may be more likely to underapply.

If you just stocked up on sunscreen spray, you don’t have to toss it out. You can safely apply it by spraying it into your own hand, away from your child, and then slather it on with your hands.

Not sure if you’re keeping your kids covered? Test your sun safety savvy. 

 

How to Apply Sunscreen to Your Baby
How to Apply Sunscreen to Your Baby
How to Apply Sunscreen to Your Baby

Image: Woman and sunscreen by racorn/Shutterstock.com

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Study: Babies Worldwide Are Strikingly Similar in Size—If Mom’s Healthy

Monday, July 7th, 2014

How do babies worldwide measure up? Pretty strikingly similar, if the baby’s moms are healthy, according to a new international study by INTERGROWTH-21st, led by Oxford University.

The study, published in The Lancet, Diabetes & Endocrinology, showed that while there’s a huge disparity in newborn size that’s often been attributed to race and ethnicity, the bigger factors in determining a healthy newborn size are a mother’s health, educational level and nutritional status. In 60,000 pregnancies reviewed, from urban areas in Brazil, China, India, Italy, Kenya, Oman, the UK and USA, only 4 percent of the growth and birth size difference could be attributed to the baby’s ethnicity. Instead, the mother’s health, nutrition and education directly impacted the baby’s growth during gestation, and after birth.

According to Science Daily: “Currently we are not all equal at birth. But we can be,” said the lead author Professor Jose Villar of the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Oxford. “We can create a similar start for all by making sure mothers are well educated and nourished, by treating infection and by providing adequate antenatal care.”

Keep up with the latest pregnancy news by signing up for Parents newsletters.

Watch Your Baby Grow
Watch Your Baby Grow
Watch Your Baby Grow

Image: Newborn baby by  Ventura/ Shutterstock.com

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