Want Well-Behaved Kids? Speak In A British Accent (Says Science)

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Want Well-Behaved Kids? Speak In A British Accent (Says Science)

If we learned anything from Mary Poppins it's that "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," is annoying to spell, especially backward, and if a nanny comes into your house with a British accent, your children will listen up and become perfect little angels.

At least, that's what I think it was trying to convey to us, and a new study, pretty much confirms that if your kids are brats, they really do need a Mary Poppins to snap them into being awesome. Oh, and Bert, the chimney sweep, too. Can't forget Bert, you guys!

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The study of 600 families, 300 in the United States and 300 in the United Kingdom, found that when it came to getting a kid's attention, it was the British accent that had kids spinning around and listening up.

The phone app, Little Clever, found that of all the accents its application contained (Scottish, Northern English, "received pronunciation," and American), for kids between 18 months old and six years old, the British accent, especially a woman's British accent, really sealed the deal when it came to attention above all else—even for the American kids.

In fact, 70 percent of kids from the States listened harder to the voice of a British woman than any of the other proposed accents, as did 95 percent of the kids from the UK. Not only did the children in the study prefer that accent combined with that gender, but so did the parents.

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Parents, from both countries, agreed that the British accent sounds far "more authoritative," compared to other accents. But as to why this is, no one can really say for sure, and nowhere in the results did anyone mention Mary Poppins, so I guess that throws out my personal theory on the matter.

Explained Kevin Croombs, chief executive of Little Clever, "Children seem to listen harder and longer when playing the game using the British accent. It just seemed to engage them better and encourage them to do better in the game. They seemed to like being praised in the British accent particularly and would show more excitement, such as clapping their hands and smiling wider."

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Well, then. I had no idea that the British accent could be so powerful! I think the lesson to take from this study is that the only way to have truly perfect children, the kind who don't hide under the dinner table just because they're bored or throw fits in the grocery store because they've been denied some stupid, plastic toy, is hiring a British nanny the very second you find out you're preggers.

You may not score yourself a Mary Poppins doppelganger, but you'll at least be able to brag about how your kids are so well-behaved compared to the other brats on the block.

Amanda Chatel is a New York-based lifestyle writer with a focus on sex, relationships, sexual health, women's reproductive rights, feminism, and mental health. Amanda divides her time between NYC and Barcelona.