Parents Waiting on Vaccines for Kids 5–11, Getting Chores Done Without Bribes, School, and Extracurricular Activities

The COVID-19 vaccine for kids is driving new questions for parents. Here’s what the experts have said.

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Why some parents are waiting on vaccines for kids 5-11

Despite trying to make this weekly newsletter not about COVID vaccines, this week there’s a lot of updates. The CDC has recommended that children age 5 to 11 years old be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine.

Even with schools distributing shots and some offering $100 and sporting-event tickets as rewards, three in ten parents say they will definitely not get their 5 to 11 year old vaccinated, while another third of parents say they will “wait and see” how the vaccine is working before having their 5-11 year old vaccinated.

“It’s kind of like an iPhone; you always wait and see how the bugs are,” said Cherish Latting, 36, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

We’ve heard from many Parents Club members—many who have vaccinated themselves—share the questions they have for their kids.

COVID is mild for most kids, so do they still need to be vaccinated?

Most children infected with the virus have mild symptoms and children rarely die from the disease, however, scientists are recommended the shot to prevent infections from spreading as well as the rare but severe cases. 8,300 kids aged 5 to 11 have been hospitalized.

Don’t most of the kids with hospitalizations have underlying conditions?

In an analysis of hospitalization records, roughly 30% of kids hospitalized with COVID-18 have no underlying health conditions. This makes it very hard to predict which kids who get COVID-19 will be impacted with a severe case. 791 children have died from COVID-19.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine work for kids?

In a clinical trial, a 10-microgram vaccine dose was tested in children ages 5 to 11, which is a third of the dose given to adults and children over the age of 12. The lower dose was selected to minimize side effects while prompting a strong immune response. The data showed the vaccine was 90.7% effective against symptomatic cases.

What are the side effects?

There were no new safety problems identified in the studies, and the most common side effects were similar to other age groups: arm soreness, fatigue, and headache, and muscle ache. Most kids feel fine in 2-3 days.

I’d love to hear your perspective, hit reply in this email, and let me know what you think.

Getting chores done without bribes or punishments

Extensive evidence from psychology, evolutionary biology, and anthropology suggest that children have an innate desire to help others and take responsibility. No chore charts or allowances are needed. In this quick tip episode, we discuss the research behind kids’ innate willingness to help and how parents can implicate this with chores at home without bribes, punishments, or allowances.

A recent July study published in Human Development illustrated this theory. Lucia Alcala, a psychologist at the California State University, Fullerton, led the study in the Yucatan. Researchers set out to find more about children’s views of their contributions to chores. They asked Maya children why they voluntarily do chores around the house. The children explained that they liked helping and that it is a shared responsibility of family members. The children’s sense of belonging and responsibility towards the family was the driving force behind their contributions. They attended to the needs of the family, taking the initiative to learn and help.

Karsen and I went deeper on this topic in this week’s Quick Tip episode:

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The Family Firm: A Data-Driven Guide to Better Decision Making in the Early School Years

In The Family Firm, Brown professor of economics and mom of two Emily Oster offers a classic business school framework for data-driven parents to think more deliberately about the key issues of the elementary years: school, health, extracurricular activities, and more.
Unlike the hourly challenges of infant parenting, the big questions in this age come up less frequently. But we live with the consequences of our decisions for much longer. What’s the right kind of school and at what age should a particular kid start? How do you encourage a healthy diet? Should kids play a sport and how seriously? How do you think smartly about encouraging children’s independence? Along with these bigger questions, Oster investigates how to navigate the complexity of day-to-day family logistics.

Listen to our 10-minute book summary:

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Links we like

The parenting content we’d share if we were in your group text.

Waiting: If you’ve decided to get a covid shot for your kid age 5 to 11, getting an appointment may take some patience. Here’s why.

Money: One economist wondered if she should give her children an allowance. She decided to lean towards an allowance while designing productive logistics.

Gobble: If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, but your friends and family aren’t vaccinated, here’s the guidance from experts on staying safe and keeping the peace.

Trap: In an experiment, children learned better than adults because adults leap faster to conclusions while children gather more information and explore.

Weaning: Some moms are delaying weaning from breastfeeding in order to pass on COVID-19 antibodies. A study published showed that antibody concentrations were “significantly higher” in the milk of mothers who were breastfeeding 24 months or more.

Let’s keep the conversation going. Follow us on YouTube or Instagram for weekly parenting tips. If you have a topic you’d like to see covered in a future newsletter, just reply to this email or write to me at

See you next week,

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