This Test Will Tell You If You’re a Good Parent (Or Not)
I don’t have kids. But I can only imagine the worry and pressure parents must face when they stop and wonder whether the decisions they’re making right now will help (or hurt) their kids in the long run.
Wonder no more, parents. Now there’s a test for that!
Well, sort of. Researchers at Texas A&M came up with a test to assess whether your home environment is suitable for developing your child’s motor skills. The nine-page questionnaire goes from general queries (number of parents in the home, annual household income) to the nitty-gritty (how many stackable toys Junior has, whether or not he has a full-length mirror at his disposal). There are questions about the number of stairs in your home and whether you have outdoor space—and if so, does it include a variety of ground texture, like dirt, grass, concrete, wood or sand? And what about your home? Does it have materials suitable for safe falling (i.e. padded carpeting that’s at least one-inch thick) and “any furniture or apparatus that permits your child to climb on/off and step or fall from?”
Sheesh. I can tell you this: lack of toys aside, I could never, ever have a kid in the house I currently live in, based on this questionnaire—at least, not without completely refurnishing it. Right now it’s full of carefully selected vintage (read: less-than-sturdy) furniture and knick-knacks that probably amount to a death trap for a toddler—and not to mention, do absolutely nothing in the way of fine-motor-skills development. I mean, a glass terrarium’s pretty and all, but it’s just something to look at, not dig around in.
Just for kicks, I pretended I had a kid for a minute (relax, Mom, it’s hypothetical), and took the quiz based on my current living situation. (I pretended I had a least a few toys for Junior, of course). Here’s how I scored:
• My outside space earned a score of “2, Low,” which apparently means it provides few opportunities for my fictional child’s motor development. (I guess the six-by-six-foot plot of dirt behind my Fairmount rental is only good for my dog. And summer barbecues!)
• Somehow, my inside space earned a 4, High. It must be all those stairs; it sure as heck isn’t all that midcentury modern furniture.
• My “variety of stimulation” earned a 3, Good, meaning it provides sufficient opportunity for motor development.
• Looks like my randomly selected number of fine motor toys was not good: I earned a 2 in that department. Whoopsie.
• Yikes. My selection of gross motor toys only eked out a 1, Very Low. I don’t see a Hypothetical Mommy of the Year Award in my future.
Real parents (or fake ones who want to play around with it, like me) can take the assessment here. (Click the calculator icon and it’ll download an Excel spreadsheet with the questions. The spreadsheet automatically calculates your score.)
Right now, the test is only available for kids between 18 and 42 months, but the research team is working on developing similar tools for other age groups. Read more about the research here.