Researchers from University College London and Essex University looked at data from 8,000 children and their mothers gathered over 16 years to understand what conditions influence a child’s early development and they discovered that quality mother-child time has an impact on kids far into adulthood…
Children who are read to by their mothers or are helped with their homework between the ages of three and seven tend to have more advanced cognitive abilities – and the impact lasts into adulthood.
And mothers who spend time with their children doing fun activities such as walking or painting also have offspring with better social skills.
Marco Francesconi, economics professor at Essex University, said: ‘There are two major findings that have come out of this study. The first is that mothers who spend time doing what we call “educational activities” with their children between the ages of three and seven – such as reading and helping with homework – tend to have children with better cognitive abilities.
‘The second finding is that mothers who make the time for “recreational activities”, including walking, painting and singing, tend to have children with better social skills.
‘While children who spend more time doing educational activities will go on to do better in university and in the workplace, children who spend time doing recreational activities are less aggressive and integrate better into groups.’ He said parents only need to spend half an hour to an hour with their young children every day to help them boost their cognitive and social skills.
And he added mothers from poorer backgrounds could help their children catch up with the children of wealthier parents just by spending more time with them.
‘There is no recipe, but from our studies I would estimate that just half an hour is enough to make a real difference,’ he said in the Economic Journal
‘Parents can make a very positive difference to the life of their kids just by making a small change.’
It is not yet known whether fathers have a similar influence on their children’s early development.
Culled from DailyMailUk