Posts Tagged ‘ research ’

How Do Parents Really Choose Their Children’s Schools?

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Children going to schoolParents want what’s best for their children—they want to provide them with the best chance for success and the best opportunities, which means picking the right school is a priority.

However, a new study published by the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans suggests that parents don’t always choose schools solely based on academic prestige. Research found that “parents, especially low-income parents, actually show strong preferences for other qualities like location and extracurriculars,” according to NPR.

The majority of New Orleans children attend charter schools—9 out of 10—which leaves more room for choice than areas where public schools are most popular. Researchers established a few key findings when they analyzed the schools parents actually picked: distance from home, extracurriculars (especially for high schoolers), and available before- or after-school programs. These three factors were especially important for low-income families. Parents still cared about academics—but not as much as they said when interviewed about the topic.

While this study only reflects the choices of New Orleans parents, it’s likely that parents in other areas of the country make very similar decisions. Further research by the Education Research Alliance is in the works to establish if the same trends occur in other cities.

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

Helping Your Child Succeed At School
Helping Your Child Succeed At School
Helping Your Child Succeed At School

Image: Children getting on school bus via Shutterstock

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Painful Sex After Baby? You’re Not Alone!

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Man and woman in bedNo one wants to talk about sex after baby…especially painful sex after baby. Moms may think they’re alone in feeling pain, and be too embarrassed and confused to talk about it.

Turns out, 9 out of 10 women actually experience pain when having sex for the first time after birth. And 1/4 of women still experienced pain even at 18 months.

According to the new study, researchers in Australia gathered data from 1,200 first-time moms — almost half the women had vaginal births while almost 30 percent had a C-section. The women were asked questions about sex at five different times, once prepartum (at 15 weeks) and four times postpartum (at 3, 6, 12, and 18 months).

Women who gave birth via C-section or vaginal vacuum extraction were also two times more likely to have pain, even at 18 months post-birth, than women who had more natural vaginal births. HealthDay reports:

“Two things surprised us, [including] the fact that almost all women experience pain the first time they have sex after childbirth, whether they resume sex in the first six weeks or delay until three or even six months postpartum,” said study author Stephanie Brown, a principal research fellow at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

“Second, there is a common assumption that women who have a cesarean section are less likely to experience sexual difficulties after childbirth,” she added. “That turns out not to be true.”

Although the researched is based on Australian women, women in the U.S. (and around the world) can benefit from having a more open dialogue about painful sex, which is more common than most believe.

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

Sex After Baby: Will Sex Feel the Same?
Sex After Baby: Will Sex Feel the Same?
Sex After Baby: Will Sex Feel the Same?

Image: Man and sad woman in bed via Shutterstock

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Secondhand Smoke Decreasing, But Kids Are Still at Risk!

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

NoSmokingThe amount of Americans who are exposed to secondhand smoke has decreased by nearly half in the past 12 years, reports the CDC.

The decline— from 53 percent in 2000 to 25 percent in 2012—is due to many cities and states banning cigarettes in public areas, which has also led smoking to become increasingly less socially accepted.

But secondhand smoke is not entirely a thing of the past—1 in 4 nonsmokers (or 58 million Americans) are still being exposed to these harmful chemicals.

And even more alarming is this statistic: 2 in 5 children, between the ages of 3 and 11, are still exposed to secondhand smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts also estimate that secondhand smoke has caused more than 400 infants to die from SIDS each year.

“Children are often exposed to smoke in their homes, and the report speculated that the sluggish decline in exposure of children might have to do with the fact that the fall in the adult smoking rate has slowed,”  reports The New York Times.

Infants and children are dependent on others to keep them out of harm’s way, so avoid smoking and exposing them to secondhand smoke at all costs—especially if they suffer from asthma—and everyone will be healthier as a result.

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

Baby Care Basics: What is SIDS?
Baby Care Basics: What is SIDS?
Baby Care Basics: What is SIDS?

Image: NO Smoking via Shutterstock

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Can You Steer Your Kids Toward College…Starting in Pre-K?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Learning StudentA new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, suggests that parents who have long-term expectations that their child will attend college are likely to raise children who will have academic success, as early as pre-K.

Researchers at UCLA and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discovered that a child’s readiness for kindergarten depended on a few factors other than preschool attendance, such as “families’ behaviors, attitudes, and values,” reports PsychCentral.

Data was collected from 6,600 children who were born in 2001. Each child was given standardized tests to assess them both psychologically and academically. Parents were also interviewed four times prior to their children entering kindergarten, about family dynamics, routines, and plans for preschool. Socioeconomic factors (like parents’ jobs, educational level, and income) were also considered in how it affected a child’s academic trajectory.

Test results showed that kids with the highest scores were also likely to have higher parental expectations to attend college (96 percent). Kids with the lowest scores only had 57 percent of parental expectations. Also, kids were more likely to succeed in school, especially in math and reading, if parents continued to play a strong role in sharing their expectations (which might be a good thing in light of the Common Core).

Although the majority of parents who expected their child to earn a college degree belonged to higher socioeconomic groups, early support was the most important factor. “Parents who saw college in their child’s future seemed to manage their child toward that goal irrespective of their income and other assets,” said Neal Halfon, M.D., the study’s senior author.

If you’re able to increase your child’s chance of accomplishment simply by setting positive and attainable expectations for your child, why not get a head start? And with free community college becoming a possibility, a college degree will become even more attainable for families of all economic backgrounds.

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

Parenting Style: Positive Parenting
Parenting Style: Positive Parenting
Parenting Style: Positive Parenting

Image: Learning Child via Shutterstock

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Vaccinating Kids Against Rotavirus Reduces Infection

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

baby getting rotavirus vaccine

Update (1/16/14): Our readers have pointed out that the original stock photo (which showed a needle vaccine) did not illustrate the rotavirus vaccine (which is taken orally) properly. We apologize for the error and confusion; the photo has been updated.

It’s no secret that vaccines are a hot-button topic for may parents, with many either for or against. But the latest research on vaccinations, specifically the rotavirus vaccine (which was only created in 2006), provides a good reason for parents to visit the pediatrician’s office.

Researchers at the Texas Children’s Hospital revealed in a new study that kids who did not receive the rotavirus vaccine were three times more likely to be infected by the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the rotavirus is contagious and the leading cause of gastroenteritis (also know as the stomach flu) in babies and young children. The stomach and intestines become inflamed, which lead to symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.

The study focused on young patients for over two years at the hospital and determined their rotavirus coverage, the highest being over 80 percent and the lowest being under 40 percent. Of those patients, only 10 percent in the high-coverage group contracted the rotavirus versus 31 percent in the low-coverage group. “This shows that there is an association between not being vaccinated and getting the disease,” said lead researcher Leila Sahni.

The rotavirus vaccine is only given orally, and babies must receive three doses in their first year. The study was funded by the CDC and published in Pediatrics, though this is not the first time the CDC has been involved in rotavirus research. Last year, the CDC also released a report that the rotavirus could cause “a small risk of a dangerous intestinal blockage,” but the benefits of the vaccine (including reduced children’s healthcare costs) outweighed the minimal issue.

Learn more about the rotavirus vaccine and the stomach flu. And make sure to print this free vaccine schedule for babies and toddlers and the one for preschoolers and older kids.

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

Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids

Image: Nurse giving baby Rotavirus vaccinevia Shutterstock

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