Archive for the ‘ Trends ’ Category

Unmarried and Living Together: The Parenting Trend That’s On the Rise

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

New parentsFewer children are being born into single-parent homes in the United States, but that doesn’t mean what you might think it does. The number of couples who aren’t married but who live together is steadily increasing, according to new data from the CDC’s National Survey of Family Growth.

From 2011 to 2013, 25.9 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 (defined as “child-bearing age”) who gave birth were cohabiting—that’s close to double the rate from just 10 years earlier, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Many couples choose to remain unwed to avoid rushing into marriage, and in hopes of becoming financially stable as individuals before tying the knot—especially if the pregnancy is unplanned. Also, research shows that the “earnings of less-educated American men have fallen in recent decades, while education levels have risen among women, making marriage less attractive economically for women,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

Americans who are well-educated and wealthy still tend to marry before having kids, while single mothers are most common in low-income environments.

Although the rate of single mothers has also dropped from 21.3 percent to 18 percent over the past decade, many sociologists are worried about the increase in cohabiting parents. Compared to married couples, cohabiting couples are more likely to separate and may be less financially secure.

So while cohabiting may appear to be the most modern parenting solution, in many cases, it still lacks the security that marriage provides.

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

What's Your Parenting Style?
What's Your Parenting Style?
What's Your Parenting Style?

Image: New parents via Shutterstock

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Why IUDs Are Becoming the Birth Control of Choice for Many Women

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

IUDsMore women than ever before are choosing intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants to prevent pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Despite a decline in users for nearly 20 years because of safety concerns, improved IUDs and implants are now a safer and more effective form of birth control.

“Among U.S. women aged 15 to 44, the use of these long-term but reversible contraceptives rose from 1.5 percent in 2002 to 7.2 percent in 2011-2013,” reports Health Day. And the use of implants also tripled during the same period, according to Time.com.

This method of protection is a great option for women who aren’t ready to start a family because IUDs can last between 3 and 10 years. Also, if the usage of IUDs and implants continue to increase, the amount of unplanned pregnancies is likely to decrease.

An IUD or implant is always in place, and women don’t have to take extra steps or rely on their partners to avoid becoming pregnant,” reports The Huffington Post. “Some women experience lighter or no periods after their IUDs have been in place for several months.” Plus, an IUD is 99 percent effective with little fuss, compared to birth control pills (91 percent effective only if taken at the same time daily) and male condoms (82 percent effective only if used correctly).

Women may currently opt for other, less expensive methods of birth control because an IUD currently costs more than $1,000. But the Affordable Care Act requires health insurance companies to cover birth control expenses at no cost, which may increase the use of this type of birth control even more.

Tell us: Would you prefer this no-worry solution for yourself?

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

Are You Pregnant? How to Know for Sure
Are You Pregnant? How to Know for Sure
Are You Pregnant? How to Know for Sure

Image: Photo of an IUD via Shutterstock

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Why Recess HELPS Kids Eat Fruits and Veggies

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

School lunch trayIn recent years, some schools have been reducing recess hours — or eliminating it altogether, even though the American Academy of Pediatrics has advocated for schools to keep schoolyard play. Despite support from the AAP, some elementary schools (like these 23 schools in Florida) are still cutting back on playtime in favor of study time…to meet Common Core standards.

But a new study, published in Preventative Medicine, reveals two great reasons for schools to keep recess: Kids who have recess before lunch are more likely to eat (and finish!) fruits and veggies — which means they’re less likely to waste food.

Researchers studied seven elementary schools (grades 1-6) in Orem, Utah and focused on kids who enrolled in the federally-funded school lunch program (which requires that kids eat either a fruit or veggie). Of the seven schools, three had recess before lunch and four had recess after lunch. Over a few days in the spring and fall of 2011, the researchers measured the serving amount of fruits and vegetables that students threw away in the trash. The scientists recorded a total of 22,939 observations. HealthDay reports:

In the schools that held recess before lunch, students’ consumption of fruits and vegetables rose 54 percent. There also was a 45 percent increase in the number of students who ate at least one serving of fruits and vegetables.

Meanwhile, students’ consumption of fruits and vegetables decreased at the schools that still held recess after lunch.

“[W]e found that if recess is held before lunch, students come to lunch with healthy appetites and less urgency and are more likely to finish their fruits and vegetables,” said David Just, a co-author of the study. On the flip side, when recess is held after lunch, kids are more like to rush through eating (and waste more food) in order to play.

And according to a 2013 Harvard University study, students throw away around $1.2 billion in food every year. This is an astounding number, especially given America’s hunger crisis.

There are also other benefits of keeping recess; other studies have shown that recess promotes physical activity, creative and imaginative play, a readiness to learn, better social skills, and less bullying. Even though one mom has her doubts about having recess before lunch, all the combined factors still make up a good list of reasons why schools should keep recess.

Lunch Monitor: What Are Kids Throwing Away?
Lunch Monitor: What Are Kids Throwing Away?
Lunch Monitor: What Are Kids Throwing Away?

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea

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U.S. Birth Rates Still Declining

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Woman and graph chart with decreasing lineWith the recession and the economic downturn, which began in 2008, U.S. birth rates declined to an all-time low in 2013. Millennial women wondered if they could afford raising kids, with some choosing either to give birth later…or not at all.

The Centers for Disease Control recently confirmed the continued decrease in births, noting that birth rates in 2013 dropped 1 percent from 2012, with the number also at an all-time low for Millennial women.

“Birth rates for women in their 20s declined to record lows in 2013, but rose for women in their 30s and late 40s. The rate for women in their early 40s was unchanged,” reports HealthDay. And the average age of mothers increased, as women continued to wait longer to get pregnant and have a baby.

Even teen pregnancy hit an all-time low (which may or may not have been the result of teen girls watching “16 and Pregnant”). Fertility rates also reached an all-time low between 2012 and 2013, decreasing by 1 percent as well. In addition, C-section delivery rate declined along with pre-term birth rates.

Despite all this, some experts still believe birth rates may start trending upward as the economy starts to improve, notes HealthDay.

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea


Birth Stories: Unmedicated Childbirth
Birth Stories: Unmedicated Childbirth
Birth Stories: Unmedicated Childbirth

Image: Woman and a decreasing graph via Shutterstock via Shutterstock via Shutterstock

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What the Annual ‘Kids Count’ Report Discovered About U.S. Kids

Friday, July 25th, 2014

The annual “Kids Count” report that measures the well-being of American children based on 16 indicators of economic, educational, health, and family welfare, has found encouraging improvements in several areas nationwide, chiefly a rising number of children who are attending preschool, and a steady decline in the number of kids who lag behind in reading and math. Also, national declines in the teen pregnancy, birth, and death rates suggest a brightening future for U.S. youth.

But the news from the report, which is published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and is now in its 25th year, is not all good. It also found a concerning rise in the number of children growing up in poor communities, and an increasing percentage of kids who are growing up in single-parent households.

“We should all be encouraged by the improvements in many well-being indicators in the health, education and safety areas,” said Patrick McCarthy, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s president and CEO said in a news release. “But we must do much more. All of us, in every sector — business, government, nonprofits, faith-based groups, families — need to continue to work together to ensure that all children have the chance to succeed.”

The foundation published the list of state-by-state rankings, which listed Massachusetts as the top-ranked state in education and overall, and Mississippi as the lowest-ranking state overall as well as in the economic well-being and family and community categories.  Vermont, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Minnesota rounded out the top 5 states, and New Mexico, Nevada, Louisiana, and Arizona joined Mississippi in the bottom 5.

Image: Chalkboard, via Shutterstock

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