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2012 Buzz Guide: Development

The parenting topics everyone will be talking about

According to child development pro Aliza Pressman, Ph.D., co-founder of Seedlings Group, here are the most noteworthy parenting topics and corresponding research reports of 2012.
 
Newborn sleep. A new study called Project SIESTA (Study of Infants Emergent Sleep Trajectories) is examining the question that plagues all parents of newborns: What is the best way to get a baby to sleep? This study is the first to videotape infants’ bedtime routines. Project SIESTA expects to provide answers to the tough questions about the cry-it-out method and the impact it has on infant stress and sleep patterns. In the meantime, check out Seedlings’ week-by-week tips for helping your newborn sleep.
 
Working mothers. Another topic we’ll likely hear more about in 2012 is maternal employment and its impact on child development. Based on the latest research, working moms can breathe a sigh of relief: negative effects on children seem not as widespread as researchers originally thought. In fact, findings indicate that other factors, such as parental education level and quality of parenting, are more important for children than mom’s employment status. If you’re heading back to work soon, here are a few tips for dealing with separation anxiety.
 
Technology. We can also expect new information on the influence of popular gadgets such as tablets and smart phones on children. Debates are already brewing about the educational benefits of interactive apps and games versus the increased amount of screen time for children. (The good news is that the best things you can do to help your child’s language development are simple and require no technology at all—read Seedlings’ language development tips here.)