Q: How old does my child have to be?
A: If your child is anywhere between 0-5 years you can participate. Unfortunately, if your child is older than this, there won’t be any surveys for them.
Q: My child was born premature and/or has a disability. Can I still participate?
A: We want to hear about the development of all types of children. If your child has a developmental disorder, just let us know what your child’s developmental disorder is when you register - you will get to fill out all the surveys just like everyone else! If enough parents of children with a specific developmental disorder fill out the same survey, that will give us a chance to learn about development specific to that group, and we will be able to feed that information back to you through the blog.
Q: My child doesn’t speak English. Can I still participate?
A: We are very interested in finding out about children from different language backgrounds and cultures. Just let us know which language(s) your child understands/is exposed to when you register - you will get to fill out all the surveys just like everyone else! If enough parents from a specific language background or culture fill out the same survey, that will give us a chance to learn about development specific to that group, and we will be able to feed that information back to you through the blog.
Q: What are the surveys about?
A: The current focus of Baby Loves Science is to figure out how humour, pretending, and deception develop in young children. However these are only some of the surveys that will be on offer. So on any month the survey can be about all sorts of things!
Q: How long do the surveys take?
A: The surveys range from 5-30 minutes. In future, we would like to shorten some of the longer surveys, but we need parents to fill out the longer surveys first so that we can figure out how to shorten them.
Q: Do I have to do all the surveys?
A: You can do as many or as few surveys as you like. It’s up to you, and since it’s anonymous, we won’t know what you choose to do. But remember that the more surveys you fill out, the more chances you get to learn about your child’s development and your child’s strengths. It would also help us a lot. For instance, if lots of people fill out our humour survey, we can tell parents about humour in young children. But more interesting questions can be answered if lots of parents fill out multiple surveys, e.g., language and humour. Then we can find out if these two types of development are linked!
Q: Who gets access to my child’s information?
A: Scientists at universities will receive your anonymous survey answers, anonymous information about milestones, and anonymous registration information. Researchers will not know you or your child’s names, contact details, or dates of birth, and will not have access to your photos. Researchers will then use the anonymous surveys to better understand how young children develop as a group. They will share their findings with you through the blog. They will also submit papers to academic journals. When a paper is published with your data, it will show up in the “Your Publications” section (which will appear when we have our first publication). Please note that if you include personal information in an anecdote on a survey (e.g., “Mary likes to play with cars”), then the researchers will have that information, but will not reveal that information to others. For instance, if they share that anecdote, they will delete or replace your child’s name.
Q: Is my child’s information safe?
A: We have put in lots of safeguards to keep your information safe. First, the website is encrypted. Second, we require to create a password that is difficult to crack. Third, we recommend that you keep your security software up to date. See our security page for more information.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: This service is free! We are trying to discover how young children develop and so we are thankful for your time.
Q: Do I have to get individual feedback about my child’s results?
A: No- it’s up to you. After each survey we will give you some general feedback, and then ask you if you would like specific feedback. You can always choose to say “no”.
Q: How do my child’s results compare to other children?
A: Since all children are different and develop at different rates, there are no right or wrong results for any of our surveys. We therefore don’t think it is helpful to compare children. Instead, we want to focus on how your child develops, and what your child’s own individual strengths are. We hope you find it exciting to see, for instance, how many types of jokes your child likes.
Q: I’m worried by my survey results. What should I do?
A: There are no right or wrong results for any of our surveys. Every child is different, and this is what we are interested in. Please remember that these surveys are not diagnostic tools, and not meant for clinical purposes. So if you think your child scored especially low or high, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. If a survey highlights something you were worried about anyway, then you should talk to your GP/health visitor/family doctor as they are trained professionals.
Q: I’m worried about my child’s development. Can you give me advice?
A: The scientists at Baby Loves Science are not medical professionals, and so cannot help you with any medical or psychological advice. If you have any worries about your child’s development, we suggest you talk to your GP/health visitor/family doctor as they are trained professionals.
Q: I don’t agree with the results of a survey. Is there something wrong with the survey?
A: These are mostly new surveys that we are developing, so it is quite possible that the results do not precisely reflect how you see your child. There are a lot of reasons for this. We may have included questions that we think are indicative of a trait, but aren’t, or we may not have included enough questions. Because of this, for new surveys we start out with lots and lots of questions. Then, when enough parents fill out the survey, we can see which questions are mis-guided, and delete them from the next version of the survey. For most of our newer surveys, we also ask if we’ve missed anything, and we welcome your feedback. For more established surveys, it may be the case that the questions work for most children/parents, but that they aren’t quite right for you and your child, since everyone is different. We are happy to hear feedback, e.g., about which questions you don’t agree with, or other questions you think should be included. We want our information to be as accurate as possible, so please let us know when you think something is amiss!
Q: I am not happy with the results of a survey, e.g., it says something negative about my child.
A: We are sorry that you are not happy with your results. All the surveys chosen are meant to examine typical aspects of children’s lives, and were chosen to not focus on anything that warrants concern. We don’t see any results as “negative” on our surveys.
Q: What do the Key Strengths tell me?
A: We use an algorithm to figure out what your child is best at for his/her age across the following 4 surveys: Early Humour Survey, Early Pretending Survey, Early Social Cognition Survey, First Actions Survey. You need to complete at least 3 of these to get your child’s Key Strengths. The Key Strengths are updated at the end of each month. If you missed a survey, don't worry - they'll be repeated. Find out more details about the algorithm.