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  • Growth Curve

    Kids are selective imitators, not extreme copycats

    Psychologists generally regard preschoolers as supreme copycats. Those little bundles of energy will imitate whatever an adult does to remove a prize from a box, including irrelevant and just plain silly stuff. If an experimenter pats a container twice before lifting a latch to open it, so will most kids who watched the demonstration.

    There’s an official scientific name for mega-mimicry...

    05/15/2018 - 07:00 Child Development
  • Growth Curve

    Babies’ kicks in the womb are good for their bones

    One of the strangest things about growing a human being inside your body is the alien sensation of his movements. It’s wild to realize that these internal jabs and pushes are the work of someone else’s nervous system, skeleton and muscles. Someone with his own distinct, mysterious agenda that often includes taekwondoing your uterus as you try to sleep.

    Around the 10-week mark, babies...

    01/30/2018 - 16:00 Child Development
  • Growth Curve

    The science behind kids’ belief in Santa

    Over the past week, my little girls have seen Santa in real life at least three times (though only one encounter was close enough to whisper “yo-yo” in his ear). You’d think that this Santa saturation might make them doubt that each one was the real deal. For one thing, they looked quite different. Brewery Santa’s beard was a joke, while Christmas-tree-lighting Santa’s beard was legit. Add to...

    12/22/2017 - 12:30 Child Development
  • Growth Curve

    An abundance of toys can curb kids’ creativity and focus

    The holiday onslaught is upon us. For some families with children, the crush of holiday gifts — while wonderful and thoughtful in many ways — can become nearly unmanageable, cluttering both rooms and minds.

    This year, I’m striving for simplicity as I pick a few key presents for my girls. I will probably fail. But it’s a good goal, and one that has some new science to back it. Toddlers...

    12/14/2017 - 07:00 Child Development, Parenting
  • Growth Curve

    Staring into a baby’s eyes puts her brain waves and yours in sync

    When you lock eyes with a baby, it’s hard to look away. For one thing, babies are fun to look at. They’re so tiny and cute and interesting. For another, babies love to stare back. I remember my babies staring at me so hard, with their eyebrows raised and unblinking eyes wide open. They would have killed in a staring contest.

    This mutual adoration of staring may be for a good reason. When...

    12/05/2017 - 15:30 Child Development, Parenting