Parenting is always an experiment so why not collect the data?
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Parenting Science Gang – 9 months on

Parenting Science Gang has been running for 9 months now (!!), here’s what we’ve been up to.

The first four groups

We started by recruiting members from four existing Facebook groups for parents:

  • Breastfeeding Older Babies & Beyond (BOBAB)
  • UK Breastfeeding and Parenting Support (UKBAPS)
  • Science-Aware Natural Parenting (SANP), and
  • Dumfries and Galloway Bump Baby and Beyond (DGBBB).  

These groups have now all chosen their experiments and are working to make them happen.

Breastmilk constituents

BOBAB and UKBAPS both independently chose to investigate the constituents of breast milk in children over 2 years of age. They are collaborating with Natalie Shenker and Simon Cameron at Imperial College on an experiment to analyse breast milk. The protocol is in its final stages and they plan to run the experiment in February 2018.

Babywearing & temperature

SANP have decided to investigate the effect of babywearing on a baby’s temperature. They are working with Davide Filingeri to hone the details of the protocol and are planning to conduct an experiment monitoring child and adult temperature in and out of a sling at Davide’s lab in January 2018.  A pilot test with two participants will take place in December 2017.

Flexi-schooling

DGBBB aim to map flexi-schooling policy across Scotland. Through freedom of information requests they are looking at things like which local authorities recognise flexi-schooling and what guidance and support they give to schools with regards to flexi-schooled children.

Special events

We’ve held two face to face meetings for PSG participants this year.

In June, we ran a 2 day event for three of our groups (BOBAB, SANP and UKBAPS) at Mount Cook in Derbyshire. 14 participants, 10 accompanying adults, 24 children, 5 members of staff and 4 speakers took part.     

Our participants were really energized after the weekend and came away with a greater understanding of the project. You can read blogs from three of the participants here:

Huge thanks to our wonderful speakers who came along for the weekend: Alice Jones from Goldsmiths, Alice Sheppard from UCL, Rachel Plachinski  from NCT and storyteller Ana Maria Lines.

In August, we ran a half day event in Dumfries for members of DGBBB PSG. 7 participants and 7 children attended. The group generated several ideas and had a great discussion about mainstream vs. alternative education including flexi-schooling, which was subsequently chosen as the topic to pursue further by the main PSG group.

Expert input

We hold “live chats” roughly once a week for members of PSG to quiz experts about areas of their research interest. Have a look at all our live chats so far. 

If you’re a scientist researching anything parenting or child-related, and you’d like to get involved, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at parentingsciencegang@gmail.com

The future

We’re in the process of recruiting 6 more groups for the second wave of Parenting Science Gang. We’d really love to include some more diverse groups, so if you’re a member of a parenting group and think this sounds like it could be for you – please get in touch.

Find out what’s involved and how to apply.  

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