Trajectories of Low-income Mothers’ and Fathers’ Engagement in Learning Activities and Child Academic Skills

Publication Year


Journal Article

Using Future of Families and Child Wellbeing data (N = 4488, waves collected between 2001 and 2010), the current study examined mothers’ and fathers’ trajectories of engagement in learning activities (e.g., reading, storytelling, playing with toys) from infancy to age 5, predictors of the trajectories (family poverty, coresidence, child temperament), whether those trajectories predicted children’s academic skills (vocabulary knowledge, reading, and math ability) at age 9, and moderators of the trajectories. Mothers’ and fathers’ learning activities decreased significantly over time as children got older, and rates of decline were greater when families experienced poverty and were nonresident. Children’s academic skills were significantly lower when mothers and fathers reported higher rates of decline in learning activities during early childhood; effect sizes were small.

Journal of Child and Family Studies