Parents Day

Sunday, July 22nd is National Parents’ Day. In honor of parents, here is some economics-related parenting advice fromParentonomics, written by economist dad Joshua Gans, followed by a Twitter contest:

1. Solve sleep issues with the economics of property rights.
Gans recommends handing out free passes in order to limit the amount of sleep disruptions: “A free pass is a card the child can exchange after bedtime for, say, leaving their room to get a drink (a common delaying tactic) or a parental hug. Basically, by limiting the number of passes a child has, you limit the quantity of disruptions they can get away with, without having to resort to an outright ban.”
2. Be a shrewd salesman with children when it comes to unhealthy foods.
Gans says parents should “sell” the smallest amount of junk food in exchange for healthy food: “It is easy to get caught up with the idea that you are selling health to your children, but that path leads to a marketing campaign on peas and carrots. It just won’t work. Instead, you need to consider yourself as the seller of unhealthy foods—chocolate and ice cream…You need to try and get your customers (the children) to give you the best possible price for your wares. By ‘price’ I don’t mean money but, of course, healthy eating.”
3. Look for profit opportunities at parties.
Gans once hosted a successful Tupperware party for his eight-year-old daughter, making a profit and providing a unique fun time: “I can highly recommend Tupperware parties for eight-year-olds. For starters, they satisfy a deep need children have to do things that seem adult. But more important, it really is cost-effective. How many kids’ parties have you run that turned a profit?”
Be sure to tweet us (@mitpress) your most creative parenting tips (use #ParentsDay) for a chance to win a copy of Parentonomics. Each tweet will earn you an entry in a random drawing. Contest ends at 9 PM ET on July 22nd.