Don’t Be So “Easy” On Your Youngest When It Comes to School

How many times have you heard a parent say that they are easier on their youngest child? A new study – one that examined a large national data base – not only confirms this tendency, but suggests that it may account for birth order effects on school achievement. 

The key findings were:

  • On average, oldest siblings do better in school than younger siblings
  • Parents reported more systematic and vigilant monitoring of the homework of older siblings
  • This difference in parental monitoring partially explained why older siblings did better in school

Taken together, the authors of the research report suggest that parents have different standards based on birth order – they expect more of their oldest kid academically and tend to back off when it comes to their younger siblings:

… earlier born siblings [the oldest] face more intense, systematic parental scrutiny regarding homework. Parents are more likely to seek information on how much effort is being exerted by their [oldest] children on homework

Of course, many factors influence school performance, birth order being only one of them. But what’s interesting here is there may be a systematic effect going on, and one that can be easily addressed at home. Simply expect as much from your younger kids as you do your oldest when it comes to school work, and put in as much effort in making sure their homework gets done.

Plus: Which of these 10 best educational apps for preschoolers suits your child? Then, discover which parenting style matches your family’s lifestyle with this free quiz.

What You Need to Know About Your Youngest Child
What You Need to Know About Your Youngest Child
What You Need to Know About Your Youngest Child

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  1. [...] research using national data bases suggest that, in terms of academics, parents may spend less time monitoring their youngest child’s homework, which may account for some of the scholastic effects of birth [...]