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Thanks, Mom and Dad: How parental education matters

Flickr: Jim Boud

The first week of Education Month covered a lot of ground. Do you feel more educated already?

Maybe I should direct that question to your mom and dad instead. Research indicates that educated parents pass on a ton of benefits to their kids.

For example...

1. The children of educated parents are less stressed

One study conducted by the Society for Neuroscience found key correlations between parent education and child brain development. Specifically, the children of parents with 8-21 years of education had smaller amygdalas.

The amygdala is the part of the brain that processes stress. When this brain region is smaller a child tends to be less anxious, which lowers his or her risk of depression later in life.

2. Educated parents have heavier babies

The Institute for the Study of Labor discovered that babies born to educated parents weigh more at birth. And when it comes to being an infant, baby fat is serious business.

Heavier babies are less likely to be born with respiratory problems and have lower risks of infection. In fact, every extra pound at birth correlates with better child health outcomes (up to almost 10 pounds!).

Later in life, infants that weigh more at birth have higher average test scores in elementary school and middle school than their lighter peers. Embrace those extra pounds!

3. Kids with educated parents have a head start in school

If your parents received an education, there’s a good chance that you’ll enter school ahead of the game. One of the best predictors of an elementary school child’s success in math and language is how many years his or her own parents were educated for.

The theory is that people who have gone to school value learning. As a result, educated parents may be more likely to read their kids bedtime stories or practice skills like counting early on.

4. Living in an educated household boosts your IQ

Even if your parents aren’t biologically related to you, there are benefits to living in the same home as educated adults. One study focusing on the IQ levels of twin brothers raised apart found that educated adoptive parents can increase a child’s IQ by 4.4 points. Talk about nurture over nature.

5. Your parents can influence your future income

In one US study, long-term data suggested that the level of parental education when a child is 8 years old influences his or her employment success 40 years later. Having a job is key to remaining financially stable and out of poverty (not to mention that adults with steady incomes can afford to send their own children to school).

6. It’s all part of a cycle

Parental education is important, but mothers can take all the credit for the final item on this list.

Children tend to stay in school longer when their moms have higher levels of education. This trend perpetuates all of the good stuff already mentioned above, setting future generations of children up for even more success.

Investing in education sets off a ripple effect for years to come. You can help spread the benefits of education by sending an email in TAKE ACTION NOW.