Timing Parenting Tips Boosts their Effectiveness for Children

NBER Digest

The challenges of the workweek make it difficult for parents to make effective use of tips sent by text on weekdays.

"Point out the first letter in your child's name in magazines, on signs and at the store. Have your child try. Make it a game. Who can find the most?"

That tip is an example of parenting advice offered by an educational program that sends text messages to parents of preschoolers. The program has proven effective at boosting children's literacy and math skills.

But when should the messages be sent? On weekends, when parents typically have more time to spend with their children? Or on weekdays, when working parents may be more receptive to outside help to make the most of their limited time with their children? Does it matter?