The Science of Parenting

The science of parenting: Is it safe to play outside?

In this series, I’m examining the science of parenting. In Part One, we discussed the the importance of the quality - not quantity - of time we spend with our kids. In Part Two, we looked at the science on what types of activities can be considered quality family time. In Part Three, I look at how our children spend their time, our perception of those activities, and what the science actually says. 

Last week, I took the boys to our local park after school. I had just read an editorial making a strong case for free-range parenting. This quote in particular left me wondering if I give my own children enough opportunities to explore.

The science of parenting: What does "quality time" mean?

In part one of this series, I discussed a recent study that found increased maternal time was not necessary for happy kids. In fact, it was the quality of time - not quantity of time that counts. In this post, I ask what does the science say about quality time?

I'll never forget a conversation I once had with a close friend about being a work-at-home mom. She was bemoaning the hours she spent during a recent snow day keeping her kids entertained by playing My Little Ponies.

I was sympathetic to her plight but told her I couldn't really commiserate. 

"I don't really play with my kids," I told her.

The science of parenting: How much time should I spend with my kids?

At least once a week, I have the same conversation. I’ve had this conversation with working moms and stay-at-home moms. It is usually during a meeting or other week night obligation and it always begins with a mommy friend expressing guilt about being away from her kids.

Despite encouragement and reassurance that her kids are fine, I always get the same response, “I just feel like I should BE there.”