Big-shot economist Austan Goolsbee (hi, Robin!) reports that the numbers have been crunched and there is absolutely no evidence that watching TV has any harmful effect on small children - at least the couple of hours of PBS/Noggin-style programming your average preschooler absorbs in a typical day. Goolsbee takes a two-pronged approach to blowing up the conventional wisdom: One, he points out that any study that compares kids who watch no TV to kids who watch any TV is worthless on its face, because the only kids who don't watch any TV are rich weirdos, and they don't count. Two, he refers to a statistically valid study of standardized high-school test scores from the 60s that compares the achievement of kids who grew in communities that had TV broadcasts in 1947 with kids who grew up in areas that didn't get TV until 1952, and finds no difference in cognitive ability. So watch all you want; we'll make more.


We've begun planning our summer vacation, but no matter where we end up going, we know we won't be taking our nanny along. We've just never seen the appeal of having an extra person tag along as we recreate at a beach house or other site where the whole idea is for us to really let our hair down with the kids. Comfort level with taking the nanny on vacation seems to be one of those absolute divides among parents - either you can do it or you can't. And as the Times recently pointed out, you should remember that there are two schools of thought among nannies, too:

Some parents may think that they're offering a chance to go to a new, fabulous place. That may be true, but some nannies can also feel trapped - on call at all hours, with no time alone. While parents may see a beach bungalow as a dreamy place to relax, a nanny may see it as an unfamiliar place where a child has few toys and has to eat different foods. . .

"Remember, the nanny's not on vacation, she's working," said Elizabeth Walsh, owner of NannyQuest Inc., a placement agency based in Atlanta. "It might not be as big a deal for her as the parents think."

February 23, 2006 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS


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