Scientists studied 8,000 children over 16 years using data from the Millennium Cohort Study. They found:
- Those whose mothers concentrated on educational tasks such as helping with homework or reading books grew up to have better cognitive abilities.
- Those whose mothers focussed on recreational activities such as singing or painting, had better social skills.
Of course this doesn’t prove that it’s the voters involvement that dos the trick. Sociable mothers are more likely to play with their children and are also more likely to produce sociable ones. Separating genetic influences from environmental ones is the old nature/nurture dilemma.
Nevertheless the researchers think parents should take note. Marco Francesconi from the University of Essex thinks “just half an hour is enough to make a difference. 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 les aggressive and integrate better into groups”.
He thinks that simply giving people attention could combat inequalities. Children with mothers without university degrees are more likely to do badly in school. “Our study shows that if the mother with no education spends a lot of time doing educational activities with her child, she can make up half the difference“