From eating a balanced breakfast to staying in touch with teachers, there are plenty of ways to help your child succeed in the classroom. But new research shows that your own education may have just as big of an impact on your child's achievement in reading and math.
According to a study recently published in Journal of Research on Adolescence, a mom's level of education can actually predict her child's academic performance years down the line.
Researchers analyzed information from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort that followed a group of more than 14,000 students from 1998, when they entered kindergarten, to 2007. Reading and math scores were gathered and assessed in third, fifth and eighth grade. They found that children who were born when their mother's were very young (18 years old or younger) and likely had less education, didn't do as well in school compared to children who had older mothers, and likely more education.
A news release from the University of Michigan reports:
Trends indicate that mothers who give birth during adolescence have much lower rates of high school completion and college enrollment in comparison to their counterparts who delay pregnancy.
"These results provide compelling evidence that having a child during adolescence has enduring negative consequences for the achievement of the next generation," Sandra Tang, the study's lead author, said in the news release.
There is a bright side, though: Children of young mothers who were able to further their education, in spite of having children, did perform better in school compared to those kids whose moms did not continue their education.
While married and unmarried mothers tended to reach the same educational levels several decades ago, the study points out that in recent years married mothers are likely to have more education and therefore more resources to share with their children compared to younger, unmarried mothers.
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Photo of mom and baby reading courtesy of Shutterstock.