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Home > You're Not Alone > What We've Learned

You're Not Alone
What We've Learned

Invest in Kids conducted a national survey of 1,643 parents of children age 0-5 to learn more about their parenting beliefs, knowledge, and confidence. Each month we will be highlighting a set of results from our survey.

Parents Tell Us They Lack Knowledge in Child Development

We asked parents the following questions:

How sure do you feel that you know what signs to watch for that would indicate that a baby or young child’s physical development is healthy and about right for his/her age?

  • Not At All Sure
  • Only Somewhat Sure
  • Pretty Sure
  • Totally Sure

Parents were asked the same question with regards to a baby or young child's social, emotional and intellectual development.


Developmental DomainHigh confidence in their knowledgeSome confidence in their knowledgeLow confidence in their knowledge

As can be seen, while about 60% of Canadian parents reported some degree of certainty (“pretty sure”) across all developmental areas, the percentages of those who felt very confident in their knowledge (“totally sure”) were low, and the percentages of parents who reported little confidence in their knowledge (“not at all sure” or “only somewhat sure”) was substantial. Indeed, with the exception of physical development, there were many more parents who reported low confidence in their knowledge (on average, 25% across the social, emotional, and intellectual domains of development) than those who reported high confidence (on average, 14%). As mentioned, physical development was the one area in which parents’ confidence in their knowledge was reasonably high, with 29% reporting high levels of confidence, and only 7% feeling they had low knowledge in this area.

The Knowledge/Influence Dilemma

We also asked parents to tell us the one area of development (social, emotional, intellectual or physical) in which they felt they had the most knowledge, as well as the one area they felt they had the most influence.

The pattern of findings indicates that parents are in a genuine dilemma, feeling they have the most influence in areas in which they are not especially knowledgeable (most notably social and emotional development), and conversely, reporting the most knowledge of the one area they feel they have little influence (physical development).

Area of Most KnowledgeArea of Greatest Influence

Specifically, the majority (55%) of parents chose physical development as the area in which they had the most knowledge, yet only 6% felt they had the most influence in the area of physical development.

In the area of emotional development, the pattern was reversed, with a full 44% of parents saying that this was the area in which they had the greatest influence, yet only 18% of parents reported having the most knowledge in the area of emotional development.

Similarly, 32% of parents reported the greatest influence in the area of social development, while only 12% reported the most knowledge in that area.

In other words, parents quite clearly recognize their influential role in the social and emotional domains, yet do not know what to expect or do to facilitate their children’s development in these areas. In essence, parents are telling us that they’re struggling.


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