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Behavioral Economics Education Parenting

Doing > Being

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“Charles A.Lindbergh Perfusion Pump | Science Museum Group Collection” is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA NULL

Having a love of science, I naturally was interested in the pipeline from starting to learn to becoming a scientist. Fleur has a couple strikes against her in the current environment in that she is not white and female. We are a long way from getting there, but of course, I am interested in foundation work now. The framing nudge described below is interesting. I think it probably applies to many different kinds of interests. People who conceive of themselves as capable of doing the work are more likely to have an interest in doing it than those who think of themselves as budding members of the job.

Ryan Lei and colleagues recruited 212 children in 2nd and 3rd grade (about 7-9 years old) at two diverse publicly funded schools in New York City. The kids were randomly assigned to one of two groups: one group always received “identity-focused” language about science (that implied that scientists are a specific category of people), while the other always received “action-focused” language (that implied science is an activity that anyone can do).

For instance, at the beginning of the study the kids saw a video that introduced them to the scientific process. For the identity-focused group, the narrator of the video used phrases like “scientists make thoughtful guesses to help them learn about the world”. The action-focused group, on the other hand, heard language like “when people do science, they make thoughtful guesses to help them learn about the world”.

At three points across the academic year, the children answered questions measuring their attitudes towards science, including their levels of interest (either how much they wanted to “be a scientist” or “do science”, depending on the group they were in), and how good they thought they’d be (either at “being a scientist” or “doing science”). At the second and third testing points, they were also asked to judge how many parents of other children at school “were scientists” or “did science”.

Overall, the children in the action-focused group had a greater interest in “doing science” than those in the identity-focussed group had in “being a scientist”. The action-focused group also rated themselves higher in their scientific abilities, and they thought that more adults “did science” compared with how many people the identity group thought “were scientists”.

Categories
Economics Parenting

Birthrate

At times I wonder if pro-choice is a strategy. Industrialized countries tend to slow their birth rates. We don’t have to create giant families to work farms anymore. As people move into cities, life gets more expensive and harder to independently sustain. And, there is a still trying to be understood phenomenon where fertility drops as well*.

The United States is at the lowest birth rate in 30 years.

The fertility rate of 1.7 births per U.S. woman also fell 2%, meaning the current generation isn’t making enough babies to replace itself. The fertility rate is a hypothetical estimate based on lifetime projections of age-specific birth rates… If trends continue, experts said, the U.S. can expect labor shortages including in elder care when aging baby boomers need the most support.

man person cute young
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Policymakers are facing choices on whether to encourage American families to have more children versus for more immigration to compensate versus in allowing the economy to shrink.

More immigration from the poor nearby countries where people strongly desire to come here is antithetical to conservatives. These are not people who look like the mythical American, so naturally, conservatives are against this idea. This explains why the southern US border is such a battle ground why the far more porous and crossed and overstayed northern US border with a population who looks like the mythical American is fine.

Allowing the economy to shrink is great for solving things like pollution, deforestation, and production constraints. Why does the economy need grow other than increasing wealth? Wealth that accumulates to benefit the 0.1% most. However, not growing fast enough is what puts an economy into a recession or worse a depression. The leaders of our country are rated on how well they keep it growing and employers tend to lay off people at signs of a slow growth. And with automation taking jobs, we need to grow faster to sustain jobs.

Getting American families to use less birth control and eliminating abortions promotes more children being born. More children born could get the birth rate back up to the replacement rate. If the people who have more children resemble the mythical American, then that is the best way to ensure Americans resemble the country conservatives want. Of course, if those children are not the right type, then the country could end up looking wrong anyway.

* My hypothesis is we sense the crowding around us and lower our fertility to not create too many people. If the fertility rate is lower in more crowded cities, then that might confirm that idea.

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Parenting

Ninja Brain

The Ninja Brain: Humans Can Prioritise Meaningful Sounds Even While Asleep:

Teenage mutant ninja turtles
Teenage mutant ninja turtles by Adrián Pérez

We often think of sleep as a chance to switch off from the outside world, leaving us blissfully ignorant of anything going on around us. But neuroscience research has shown this is a fantasy – we still monitor the environment and respond to particular sounds while we’re sleeping (at least in some stages of sleep) – a fact that will be unsurprising to anyone who has woken up after hearing someone say their name.

A better example is anyone who has woken up after hearing their infant moving around. Part of the sensitivity is making sure the kiddo is okay. She is snoring? Good. Cannot hear anything at all? Is she breathing? This assessment that everything is fine occurs while still sleep-addled, which to me is amazing. Most likely the movement means in about 10 minutes she is going to wake up.

Probably this was good for keeping us alive on the savannah. Lions are nocturnal (night awake) where we are diurnal (day awake). It would be good for us to be able to sense the noises of a predator possibly coming to hunt us.

Categories
Health Parenting

Swallowing button batteries

Recently, I shared a funny story about doctors swallowing LEGOs for science. This is a darker story about children swallowing more dangerous things. The number of foreign objects swallowing deaths is up in part because of a proliferation of button batteries which stomach acids can rupture.

Kids under six tend to swallow things. As electronics have gotten smaller, button batteries have become more common to power them. Several hundred thousand kids are estimated to have swallowed something enough to warrant an ER visit. Thousands of cases are fatal.

The recommendation is to give the kid older than a year honey to help neutralize the stomach acid and take the kid to the emergency room.

Categories
Parenting

Singing as a baby wrangling tool

brown rabbit
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I never thought I would sing this much. I mean Disney princess movies and musicals are not my interest. But, a fragment of a song works to calm the baby, so I do it. I prefer it to the authoritarian Dad Voice. I use specific songs during specific tasks. And she really likes certain ones, so I’ve settled on them. Some examples:

  • A bastardization of “Stayin’ Alive” that is “Stayin’ Dry” while changing the diaper
  • Old MacDonald when she is bored in the carseat or resisting having to wear clothes
  • Little Bunny Foo Foo when she wants Mama who is occupied (she anticipates my bonks on her head)

I’ve kind of gotten into a rut. I need to pick up some new songs. Please suggest your favorites.

Categories
Parenting

The authoritarian magicalness of Dad Voice

There is that moment where you say the child’s name but an octave lower. It gets the child to pause and look at you. Really, the whole point right now is to create a pause long enough to complete corrective action. Once Fleur is older, we can look at using it like Adrienne Hedger demonstrates in her comic.

Back on an early date with the wife, we were with a group on a night hike. A mother called out a girl’s name who ignored her. I called out her name but in the Dad Voice. She stopped. And slowly turned around. I told her her mother wanted her. The guy behind me said he was glad his name was not the little girl’s.

I did not expect to be using it so soon. But, occasionally Fleur gets wiggly when I am changing a soiled diaper. The Dad Voice gets her attention long enough to get the next step when the sweetly cooing doesn’t.

Pleading? Ineffective.

Bargaining? She doesn’t understand yet.

The authoritarian name drop? It works.

It doesn’t make me feel great. But, I only pull it out when I really need to finish something important. Like, I don’t when she is just being active in a family space. Or about to eat a leaf or trash. Those get a normal distraction of “look at this” to get the second I need to get to her hand. I don’t want to acclimate her to this tool and ruin its efficacy.

Categories
Parenting Safety

Recall: Rock N Play

Looks like Fisher-Price has a recall for these.

“Fisher-Price and the CPSC knew about deaths linked to this product for years and could have taken steps to avoid this unnecessary tragedy,” Consumer Reports President Marta Tellado said in the statement. “It took dogged investigation and the voices of doctors, victims’ families, and advocates across the country to make this recall a reality.”

Categories
Health Parenting

Swallowing LEGOs

Pediatricians developed their own metrics: the Stool Hardness and Transit (Shat) score and the Found and Retrieved Time (Fart) score.

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From my 2005 trip to California

The Fart score – how many days it took the Lego to pass through the bowels – was between 1.1 days and three days, with an average of 1.7 days.

Using the Shat score, the researchers also found the consistency of their stools did not change. They compared Shat and Fart scores to see if looser stools caused quicker retrieval but found no correlation.

Saving this for later because given how many LEGO sets we have in the house, it seems a given Fleur is going to swallow some. Though, I have to admit my dubiousness to the study because it seems likely toddler and adult bowels might have differences such as size.

Categories
Parenting Reading

Five Books a Day

Young children whose parents read them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to, a new study found.

This makes sense to me. Keep in mind this is a number over what kids whose parents do not regularly read to them. The more one reads the more exposure. More exposure improves vocabulary by tuning the brain in this critical period to the acquisition of it.

At these volumes, variety is needed to maintain novelty and stimulation. That means a personal library probably is not going to cut it unless you are wealthy. Fleur has a couple hundred books already. I expect her to have a healthy library. But, we will need to supplement with the library or hanging out in a bookstore.

Libraries also have programs for encouraging reading. A thousand books seem to be the target for the programs I see. But, I think that is the kid reading not being read to.

Categories
Parenting

Exploration

Now that Fleur is super confident in crawling and standing and the law of gravity and navigation, she wants to explore. Well, to play with more causation. She is not satisfied with the rules she knows.

Like the scientist toddlers are, she has to try it again and again to see when and how the laws hold up. Will this thing behave the same? Will this person (me) allow her to taste the thing? Can she get to the thing and taste it before the parent stops her?

I didn’t realize how much of parenting is predicting what the child is going to do and shape the environment for a positive experience.