Archive for the ‘
The Lighter Side ’ Category
Friday, April 24th, 2015
Being happy, raising happy children, and living in a happy environment are all essential factors of a person’s wellbeing, which is why experts across multiple fields came together in 2012 to begin assessing the overall happiness of different places around the world. These experts, who represent a variety of fields like psychology, health and national statistics, have one goal in mind: to shed light on the importance of happiness as a criteria for government policy.
To that end, the third World Happiness Report was published yesterday by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). The report analyzes the life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom, corruption, and levels of gross domestic product of over 150 countries.
According to this year’s report, these are the top 10 happiest countries:
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
It came as no surprise that the Netherlands made list—earlier this year, a study compared the happiness of Dutch babies to that of American babies. Unfortunately, the United States has not yet made an appearance in the top 10, but did rank 11th in the 2012 report and 15th in this year’s report.
Related: 10 Secrets of Happy Moms
While you might not reside in one of the happiest countries on Earth, these countries are a perfect choice for your next family getaway!
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
Image: Happy boy via Shutterstock
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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!
Image: Girl with bank by Gelpi JM/Shutterstock.com
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allowance, cash gifts, chores, financial education, financial goals, fiscal responsibility, parents, research, survey | Categories:
Education, New Research, Parenting News, Parents News Now, The Lighter Side
Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
Young children–just 4 or 5 years old–may be better at college students at catching on when it comes to operating mobile apps, remote controls, and other tech gadgets that often leave adults scratching their heads and fumbling through manuals. According to new research from the University of California at Berkeley, it’s the tots’ openness to thinking about new challenges in multiple ways that enables them to problem-solve their way to success with gadgets and games.
In the study, more than 100 preschoolers and more than 170 college students were given a music box game and shown how the placement of differently-shaped clay pieces on top of the box might make it turn on. The subjects were then asked to turn the box on. NPR reports on the findings:
“What we discovered, to our surprise, was not only were 4-year-olds amazingly good at doing this, but they were actually better at it than grown-ups were,” [psychologist Alison] Gopnik says.
So why are little kids who can’t even tie their shoes better at figuring out the gadget than adults? After all, conventional wisdom contends that young children really don’t understand abstract things like cause and effect until pretty late in their development.
Gopnik thinks it’s because children approach solving the problem differently than adults.
Children try a variety of novel ideas and unusual strategies to get the gadget to go. For example, Gopnik says, “If the child sees that a square block and a round block independently turn the music on, then they’ll take a square and take a circle and put them both on the machine together to make it go, even though they never actually saw the experimenters do that.”
This is flexible, fluid thinking — children exploring an unlikely hypothesis. Exploratory learning comes naturally to young children, says Gopnik. Adults, on the other hand, jump on the first, most obvious solution and doggedly stick to it, even if it’s not working. That’s inflexible, narrow thinking. “We think the moral of the study is that maybe children are better at solving problems when the solution is an unexpected one,” says Gopnik.
Gopnik went on to say that this openness may disappear early in childhood–even by kindergarten, it may be diminishing.
Image: Confused college student, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, June 4th, 2014
American women who are planning to have children have been found by a new study to become pregnant at roughly the same time as their high school friends. Researchers only found the effect among women who were planning pregnancies, though–friends’ pregnancies did not impact the likelihood of unwanted pregnancies. More from Reuters:
“In our study we focus on high school friends because the later a friendship is formed, the more likely it is that the individual chooses the friends on common future family plans or common family orientations,” Nicoletta Balbo told Reuters Health in an email.
Balbo, a researcher at the Carlo F. Dondena Center for Research on Social Dynamics at Bocconi University in Italy, coauthored the study with Nicola Barban, a sociologist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
“We looked at dyads (pairs) of friends to see whether the childbearing of one of the friends in the dyad increases the probability for the other friend to have a child,” Balbo said.
The researchers analyzed data from a large U.S. study that has followed thousands of participants, starting when they were adolescents in the 1990s, and doing repeated interviews over the years.
Balbo and Barban focused on 1,170 women, of whom 820 became parents during the study period. About half of the pregnancies were planned and half unintended, according to the women’s own reports. Their average age at the time they had their first child was 27.
The researchers found that after one of the women in each friendship pair had a baby, the likelihood that her friend would also have her first baby went up for about two years, and then declined.
Image: Pregnant friends, via Shutterstock
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Monday, May 19th, 2014
New York City has been named in a national survey as the most expensive city in the nation in terms of the cost of hiring a babysitter. More from Time.com:
The average hourly babysitting rate for one child in New York is $15.34, based on a survey by UrbanSitter, which compiled data from nearly 7,500 families. That’s about $4.50 per hour more expensive than the cheapest big American city, Denver, whose babysitters charge parents an average of $10.84 per hour.
San Francisco parents pay $14.99 for one kid, Los Angeles parents pay $13.53, Washington, DC parents pay $13.83, and on the lower end, Chicago parents bay $11.91 and San Diego parents pay $11.11.
UrbanSitter also found that parents go through babysitters pretty quickly, with only 6 percent saying they’ve had the same one for over 5 years. Parents also like to go out a lot: more than a fourth of parents say they hire a babysitter once a week or more. And 30 percent of parents say they would not hire a “manny”—a male babysitter.
Image: Babysitter, via Shutterstock
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