(IMAGE SOURCE: ScienceDaily)


BY CHRISTIAN BRYANT

How can parents help their children succeed academically? It’s simple: just give them some room. A new study from Notre Dame suggests that leaving at least two years between births can increase academic results. Here’s MSNBC with the story.

“...There is fascinating new research on birth spacing — the interval between siblings and how it can affect things like intelligence and test scores. The thinking is the more space between kids can often mean more parental attention, more reading, more supervision, especially among lower-income kids, and that can mean higher academic achievement.”

The researchers studied a data set of 3,000 mothers who had given birth to 5,000 sibling pairs. They concluded that it’s the older sibling that mostly benefits from the birth spacing. A writer for TIME says,

“Older children who are born at least two years before a younger sibling's debut are smarter... When spacing is under two years, it stands to reason that an older sibling loses parental time and attention. With two in diapers, parenting is more about damage control than enrichment.”

But the study didn’t draw unanimous praise. The researchers only tested the children on reading and math skills and one Jezebel writer feels a few factors may have been left out.

“Of course, as the study authors remind us, they only looked at math and reading — they didn't test the kids' social skills, which could be improved by having a sibling at home from a young age... They also didn't look at relationships between siblings.”

And a writer for The New York Times pokes fun at the uncertainty element of pregnancy but says the researchers still have a point. She writes,

“How far apart should you space your children? I think fate laughs at this question... But if you’re a young parent considering when to bring child No. 2 into your lives, it’s worth thought.”

The paper is set to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Human Resources.
 

New Study Says Children Benefit From Two-Year Birth Spacing

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Nov 28, 2011

New Study Says Children Benefit From Two-Year Birth Spacing

(IMAGE SOURCE: ScienceDaily)


BY CHRISTIAN BRYANT

How can parents help their children succeed academically? It’s simple: just give them some room. A new study from Notre Dame suggests that leaving at least two years between births can increase academic results. Here’s MSNBC with the story.

“...There is fascinating new research on birth spacing — the interval between siblings and how it can affect things like intelligence and test scores. The thinking is the more space between kids can often mean more parental attention, more reading, more supervision, especially among lower-income kids, and that can mean higher academic achievement.”

The researchers studied a data set of 3,000 mothers who had given birth to 5,000 sibling pairs. They concluded that it’s the older sibling that mostly benefits from the birth spacing. A writer for TIME says,

“Older children who are born at least two years before a younger sibling's debut are smarter... When spacing is under two years, it stands to reason that an older sibling loses parental time and attention. With two in diapers, parenting is more about damage control than enrichment.”

But the study didn’t draw unanimous praise. The researchers only tested the children on reading and math skills and one Jezebel writer feels a few factors may have been left out.

“Of course, as the study authors remind us, they only looked at math and reading — they didn't test the kids' social skills, which could be improved by having a sibling at home from a young age... They also didn't look at relationships between siblings.”

And a writer for The New York Times pokes fun at the uncertainty element of pregnancy but says the researchers still have a point. She writes,

“How far apart should you space your children? I think fate laughs at this question... But if you’re a young parent considering when to bring child No. 2 into your lives, it’s worth thought.”

The paper is set to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Human Resources.
 

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