The Family Firm Book Summary - The Family Firm Book explained in key points
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The Family Firm summary

Emily Oster

A Data-Driven Guide to Better Decision Making in the Early School Years

4.1 (57 ratings)
22 mins
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    The Family Firm
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    Getting enough sleep is the foundation for your child’s success and well-being.

    In addition to being a parent, the author is also an economist. She specializes in looking at how we can use data to make better decisions. But data doesn’t only exist in economics. As the author has found out, scientific studies have a lot to teach us about hot-button parenting topics, including something as universal as sleep.

    Everyone on the planet needs to sleep, and your child is no exception. But sleep isn’t just about recharging a child’s batteries; studies show that it’s crucial for their development and well-being.

    One study that looked at 3,000 high-school students in Rhode Island found that children who had less sleep and later bedtimes also got the worst grades. Not only that, but these children were also more likely to suffer from depression.

    The key message here is: Getting enough sleep is the foundation for your child’s success and well-being.

    The link between grades and sleep time isn’t a simple one. A 2010 meta-analysis that looked at the sleep habits of 20,000 children found that the biggest predictor of academic performance wasn’t actually the amount of sleep. Instead, it was children’s levels of daytime sleepiness. This suggests that each child may need different amounts of sleep to get them through the day without feeling sleepy.

    But does poor sleep actually cause poor performance in school? Could another factor, such as poverty, cause both poor sleep and poor grades? Luckily, researchers have come up with an answer.

    In one experiment, researchers asked children between the ages of eight and twelve to sleep one hour less each night for a whole week. Then, the following week, the researchers asked the children to sleep one hour more. Now, this might not sound very much. After all, many children often wind up having an hour more or less sleep per night, depending on their schedule. But surprisingly, the researchers discovered that this one hour makes all the difference. At the end of the week in which the children slept less, they performed worse on memory and math tests and also had more emotional outbursts.

    This study suggests that, even within the recommended range of nightly sleep time, more is probably better. For kids in elementary school, around 11 hours is a good idea.

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    What is The Family Firm about?

    The Family Firm (2021) explores the latest research on pre-teen child development. It explains how parents can make data-driven decisions on important parenting decisions like a child’s school, bedtime, diet, and extracurricular schedule.

    Who should read The Family Firm?

    • Parents of children ages five to twelve
    • Educators looking for a fresh perspective
    • Psychology buffs seeking new insights

    About the Author

    Emily Oster is an economist and bestselling author. She is a Professor of Economics at Brown University and holds a PhD from Harvard University. Her previous book, Expecting Better, explores a data-driven approach to decision-making during pregnancy.

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