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What is Evidence-Based Parenting?

In recent years, evidence-based parenting has become an increasingly popular form of parenting. With an abundance of sources offering parenting advice, it can be overwhelming to know what is trustworthy and reliable. That’s where evidence-based parenting comes in. But what is evidence-based parenting and how does it work?


What is evidence-based parenting?


Put simply, evidence-based parenting means using scientific research to guide your parenting practices. Evidence-based parenting stems from the concept of evidence-based medicine (EBM), which is “the conscientious, explicit, judicious and reasonable use of modern, best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.”


Evidence-based parenting uses data supported by empirical research, such as randomized controlled trials (RCTs), meta-analyses, and systematic reviews, to determine the best parenting practices. This research follows rigorous protocols and is peer-reviewed within the scientific community. This parenting style is not mutually exclusive from other forms of parenting, such as gentle parenting, and can instead be used in tandem.


Where can you find reliable sources?


For those of you who are keen to dive into scientific publications firsthand, you can search topics of interest using PubMed or Google Scholar. While many academic journals require a personal or institutional subscription, there are several articles which are ‘Open Access,’ meaning that anyone can read them without needing to pay. A good site to find Open Access articles is through PLOS, one of the leaders in the Open Access movement. There are various journals through PLOS which may be of interest. There are also other Open Access journals, such as BMJ Paediatrics Open, which publishes studies on children’s health. Some journals, such as the Journal of Early Childhood Research and Infant and Child Development, have select articles which are Open Access.


When determining if an article is reliable or not, there are a few things you may want to consider. First, is the article peer-reviewed? Peer-reviewed articles have been assessed independently by other members of the scientific community to ensure accuracy and research quality. Another point to consider is the ‘Impact Factor’ (IF) of the journal. IF is a measure of how important a journal is, based on how often articles from the journal are cited in other publications. A higher IF indicates a higher importance. Pediatric journals with good impact factors include The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, JAMA Pediatrics, Child Development, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Child Development Perspectives, and the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions. However, these are just a few! There are many academic journals to cover a wide range of topics.


If scientific articles feel daunting or contain too much technical jargon, there are other great resources to help! Science Daily is a reliable source that summarizes findings for the public. Scientific American and New Scientist are trustworthy magazines which discuss new findings.


In addition to scientific journals, there are several places that provide educational resources for parents, based on the latest research and data.


For example, Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child provides deep dives into topics such as early childhood mental health and the gene-environment interaction. There is also an extensive resource library on the website which explores topics such as play and resilience.


Parenting from UNICEF is another great place to find information on subjects such as child development, health and wellbeing, and food and nutrition.


Zero to Three is a US nonprofit that trains parents, policymakers, and professionals on ways to enhance child nurturing and development.


How can Onoco help?


Here at Onoco, we believe there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to raising your child, but we’re here to provide you with the data and tools so you can make the best decisions for you and your little one!


We’ll be expanding our educational hub to include evidence-based content on a wide variety of topics, such as sleep, feeding, and social development. We’ll also be introducing perspectives from leading experts, cultivated by our in-house Scientific Advisor.


As we build our hub, we want to hear from you! What questions have come up during your parenting journey? What topics would you like to learn more about? And are there any expert advisors you would be keen to hear from? Let us know via email - contact@onoco.com - or by visiting us on Instagram.