Professional Resource

Survey Says: 'Millennial Connections' Partner Toolkit

Millennial parents are overwhelmed, and they’re not sure who to trust for information on parenting and child development, according to ZERO TO THREE’s 2016 "Tuning In" survey. This year, the leading nonprofit dedicated to providing babies and toddlers a strong start in life set out to find out more.

In partnership with the Bezos Family Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Einhorn Charitable Trust, and the Overdeck Foundation, ZERO TO THREE is proud to release Millennial Connections, a national survey of 1,002 parents and primary caregivers of children from birth to age 5.

In the survey, we learned who parents turn to for information about parenting and child development, what topics parents seek advice about, and how organizations can increase parents’ trust in their resources. Help us spread the word to key professionals and organizations that reach millennial parents by using this toolkit. Contents include:

Press Release

ZERO TO THREE ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF ‘MILLENNIAL CONNECTIONS’ PARENT SURVEY

For Immediate Release: November 27, 2018
Contact: Madeline Daniels Benderev, (202) 857-2995

WASHINGTONZERO TO THREE, the leading nonprofit dedicated to giving babies and toddlers a strong start in life, released today “Millennial Connections,” a survey of caregivers of children under age 5 revealing how parents get information and advice about raising children, and who they most trust to deliver these messages. The report is the result of a collaboration between ZERO TO THREE and its partners: the Bezos Family Foundation, Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, Overdeck Family Foundation, and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

The report, designed to identify trends among young parents and low-income families, asked parents and caregivers to rank their access to, and trust in, various online and in-person sources of parenting information.

Key findings include:

  • Personal networks (family and friends, but immediate family in particular) are a key source for parents with young children. Parents are more likely to trust parenting information that they receive from immediate family than any other source, whether online or in person.

  • Parents make a distinction between medical and expert websites, and other online parenting resources like social media and parenting blogs. Sites like WebMD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ZERO TO THREE, and the Mayo Clinic are sought out and trusted at significantly higher rates when compared to other online information options.

  • Educational attainment influences how parents utilize and trust information referencing scientific research. For example, parents with college educations are more likely to use websites like WebMD, the Mayo Clinic, ZERO TO THREE, and the CDC. On the other hand, 22 percent of lower income and 27 percent of parents with lower educational attainment levels in the study never access this type of website for parenting information.

  • Celebrities, brands, television advertisements, and social media were parents’ least trusted sources of information. These were the least effective and least trusted platforms to convince or build trust with parents on issues pertaining to their children among all demographic groups in the data.

“Although today’s parents are more connected through technology than ever before, Grandma wins out over Google,” said Rebecca Parlakian, ZERO TO THREE’s senior director of programs and a parenting expert. “Millennial Connections shines a spotlight on the important role of the ecosystem of support surrounding a family. Parents tell us they turn to, and trust, family and friends—but also health care providers, teachers and child care providers, home visitors, and parent educators, among others.”

For more information on the report, visit zerotothree.org/millennial-connections.

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About ZERO TO THREE ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals and policymakers. For more information, and to learn how to become a ZERO TO THREE member, please visit zerotothree.org, facebook.com/zerotothree, or follow @zerotothree on Twitter.

Sample social media posts

Facebook

More than 1000 parents told @ZEROTOTHREE how and where they seek parenting information. Here’s what they said: https://bit.ly/2JizsGI #ParentingSurveySays

85% of parents say they trust information from teachers and child care providers. Learn more from this ZEROTOTHREE parenting survey: https://bit.ly/2QDCWWA #ParentingSurveySays

Health care providers are among the most frequently consulted and most trusted sources of information on parenting and child development! Learn more from ZEROTOTHREE’s survey: https://bit.ly/2JgEJhQ #ParentingSurveySays

More than 1000 parents told ZEROTOTHREE how and where they seek parenting information. Here are the six biggest take-aways for parents of young children: https://bit.ly/2z036vj #ParentingSurveySays

Twitter

More than 1000 parents were surveyed abt where they get their #parenting info, here’s what @ZEROTOTHREE‘s #ParentingSurveySays: https://bit.ly/2JizsGI

More than 1K parents were surveyed to find out how & where they seek parenting info. #ParentingSurveySays … 6 biggest take-aways for parents of young children: https://bit.ly/2z036vj @ZEROTOTHREE

85% of parents say they trust info from teachers & #childcare providers. Learn more from @ZEROTOTHREE‘s parenting survey: https://bit.ly/2QDCWWA #ParentingSurveySays

DYK that #healthcare providers are among THE MOST frequently consulted & MOST TRUSTED sources of info on #parenting & #childdevelopment? Learn more from @ZEROTOTHREE’s survey: https://bit.ly/2JgEJhQ #ParentingSurveySays

Sample social media graphics

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Sample blog post

Survey Says: Parents talk, here’s how to listen

By Rebecca Parlakian

Millennial parents are overwhelmed, and they’re not sure who to trust for information on parenting and child development, according to the 2016 Tuning In survey from ZERO TO THREE, the leading nonprofit dedicated to giving babies and toddlers a strong start in life.

In 2018, the organization set out to find out more. In partnership with the Bezos Family Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Einhorn Charitable Trust, and the Overdeck Family Foundation, ZERO TO THREE recently released Millennial Connections, a national survey of 1,002 parents and primary caregivers of children from birth to 5. Here’s what we early childhood professionals can take away from the results:

Where do parents turn for information about parenting and child development? Survey says:

  • Grandma wins out over Google. Parents of young children were most likely to seek information from someone who knows their family personally, with immediate family (spouses, partners, their own parents) being the number one source millennials turn to with parenting questions. Other members of their social network (including extended family and friends) came in as the third and fourth sources parents turn with questions.
  • Pediatric health care providers were ranked number two (right after immediate family) in terms of how frequently parents rely on this source to answer their child-rearing questions. Health care providers were trusted as much as immediate family(93 percent) in terms of the quality of their responses. It appears that parents see their child’s health care provider as not just someone to answer questions about physical health, but also about the experience of parenting more generally.
  • Parents also seek a range of parenting information online, with higher trust placed in “science-based” parenting websites as compared to parenting information obtained from social media.

Are online or in-person sources of information more likely to spur parents to action? Survey says:

  • Parents consult online and in-person sources about equally. Interestingly, parents tell us that both sources are likely to spur them to seek out more information from an expert or try a different parenting strategy.

On what topics do parents seek advice? Survey says:

  • Not surprisingly, information about developmental milestones was number one. Parents are hungry for age-based information about what skills and abilities to expect, when. About two-thirds of parents surveyed also sought information on nutrition and language/communication skills. Rounding out the top five were managing challenging behavior and identifying effective discipline strategies—always on the minds of new parents.

What approaches can organizations take to increase parents’ trust? Survey says:

  • Connect with family members. Friends and family are big resources in the care of little kids, and children under 5 are as likely to be in the care of a grandparent as in formal childcare (zerotothree.org/grandparents). Personal connections like these are the most-consulted, most-trusted sources of information, according to the parents in our survey.
  • Partner with the range of organizations that serve parents: health-care providers, early childhood educators, and government agencies like home visiting or nutrition services. Health-care providers ranked with immediate family members in parents’ frequency of use and high level of trust. Families reported high levels of trust (on average, 80%) in other infant-family professionals (such as teachers, child care providers, home visitors, parent educators, etc.), though usage rates reflected the fact that access to these programs vary based on community.
  • Be online, but not only online. Access to online resources is nearly universal. Creating online resources is a cost-effective first step to getting the word out about parenting topics that matter most. But it shouldn’t be the last step. Science-based online resources are highly trusted, but about one-fourth of the parents surveyed never use them.
  • Seek out parents in the places they go frequently and trust most. For example, our survey suggests African-American and Latino parents are more likely to use mobile parenting apps than White parents and to turn to their houses of worship with parenting questions.
  • Tell authentic stories. Nearly two-thirds of parents surveyed were more likely to trust parenting advice that included stories and struggles of real families.

Sample newsletter blurb

Survey says: Here’s how to reach millennial parents

Millennial parents are overwhelmed, and they’re not sure who to trust for information on parenting and child development, according to the 2016 Tuning In survey from ZERO TO THREE, the leading nonprofit dedicated to giving babies and toddlers a strong start in life.

In 2018, the organization set out to find out more. In partnership with the Bezos Family Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Einhorn Charitable Trust, and the Overdeck Family Foundation, ZERO TO THREE recently released Millennial Connections, a national survey of 1,002 parents and primary caregivers of children from birth to 5.

Visit zerotothree.org/millennial-connections to learn more about what the “survey says” on where parents turn for information, what topics parents are most likely to seek advice on, and what approaches organizations can take to increase parents’ trust.