Posts Tagged ‘ child development ’

Kids’ Aggression Linked to Excessive Time Spent Playing Video Games

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

kids playing video gamesVideo games often get a bad rap—some believe they cause violent behavior, and others say they’re just plain addictive. Now, a new study further supports the notion that parents should monitor the amount of their child’s gaming screen-time.

Researchers from the University of Oxford concluded that a child’s behavior is influenced more by the time spent playing video games rather than the games’ actual content.

Children (boys and girls) between the ages of 12 and 13 reported how often they played games per day and the type of game they preferred. To assess each child’s behavior, teachers were also asked to report on the kids’ social attitude and academic performance.

The results, published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, revealed no link between violent video games and aggressive behavior or poor academic performance. But kids who played video games for three or more hours were prone to misbehavior and hyperactivity. As for kids who played video games for under an hour a day, they were actually linked with positive characteristics.

“Children who played video games with a cooperative and competitive element had significantly fewer emotional problems or problems with peers,” reports PsychCentral. “Children who chose to play solitary games were found to do well academically and displayed fewer emotional problems or got involved in fights.”

It’s important to note that video game use will not make or break your child, but it’s essential that your child balances activities and schoolwork. According to lead author Andrew Przybylski, Ph.D., “a range of other factors in a child’s life will influence their behavior more, as this research suggests that playing electronic games may be a statistically significant but minor factor in how children progress academically or in their emotional well-being.”

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Violent Video Games, TV, and Movies
Violent Video Games, TV, and Movies
Violent Video Games, TV, and Movies

Image: Kids playing video games via Shutterstock

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Parents of Preemies Experience More Stress Years Later

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Stressed motherParents of premature babies worry more about about their child’s development, and this can translate into long-term stress.

According to new research, parents of preterm children (born at least seven weeks early) felt greater stress when their kids began misbehaving later in life than parents of full-term children.

Researchers measured (pre-term and full-term) children’s behaviors and intelligence levels at 7-years-old, and used questionnaires to determine parents’ stress levels. “After accounting for child behavior problems, IQ, gender, and the parents’ coping styles, the study found that parents were more likely to be stressed if their child acted out,” reports Reuters. The stress was especially evident when parents of preemies didn’t discipline their kids, especially if they were girls.

A difference in coping methods was also found — while preterm parents tended to use avoidance, parents of full-term children were more likely to use constructive-problem solving methods. Not surprisingly, the study pointed out that parents who were given support to deal with parenting challenges were less likely be overwhelmed.

The authors did note their uncertainty about whether a child behavior issues caused the stress, or if it was a result of bad behavior. Also according to Reuters, “mothers of children who act out already have higher stress levels and may play and interact with their children less than mothers whose kids behave…Having a preemie with medical complications may just make those interactions worse.”

Mark Linden, the study’s first author, suggests support groups, telephone help lines, or regular visits to the family general practitioner as resources to help parents find the best way to cope. Whatever the cause of parental stress may be, one thing’s for certain: it will likely have a negative effect on children unless addressed right away.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies
Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies
Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies

Image: Stressed mother via Shutterstock

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Why Breastfeeding Your Baby Longer Could Mean a Higher IQ

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Mother breastfeedingBreastfeeding is a difficult task for many mothers but, according to new research, prolonged nursing can help your child reap certain benefits in adulthood.

A study published in the Lancet Global Health journal concluded that a “longer duration of breastfeeding is linked with increased intelligence in adulthood, longer schooling, and higher adult earnings,” reports Science Daily.

Researchers followed nearly 3,500 newborns for 30 years and were able to establish that prolonged breastfeeding had a positive long-term effect on the individuals later in life. The most notable increase in good outcomes was connected to babies who had been breastfed for at least 12 months. As adults, they scored four points higher on IQ tests, attended school for a year longer, and made 15 percent more money, according to Time.

“The likely mechanism underlying the beneficial effects of breast milk on intelligence is the presence of long-chain saturated fatty acids (DHAs) found in breast milk, which are essential for brain development,” said Dr. Bernardo Lessa Horta, the study’s lead author. “Our finding that predominant breastfeeding is positively related to IQ in adulthood also suggests that the amount of milk consumed plays a role.”

All this makes the case that extended breastfeeding can have a good impact on a child’s development.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

How to Manage Breastfeeding
How to Manage Breastfeeding
How to Manage Breastfeeding

Image: Mother breastfeeding via Shutterstock

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Is Shopping Good for Child Development?

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Taking a toddler shopping may actually help their social, intellectual, and even motor development, according to a new British study.  More from The Daily Mail:

The interaction between child and parent while shopping helps young people develop social skills and promotes happiness – even if a bawling toddler shows few signs of it at the time.

According to the joint study by Oxford University and the Open University, shopping trips are just as beneficial for the child’s development as painting or drawing activities.

The two universities made these conclusions after studying the results of an economic survey in Germany.

This survey looked into the daily routines and habits of 800 parents with two and three-year-olds.

It recorded higher perceived levels of happiness among the children who had taken part in activities such as arts and crafts, and shopping.

Researchers Professor Paul Anand and Dr Laurence Roope added that the more retail therapy the toddlers were exposed to, the happier they seemed to be, and the more developed their everyday skills became.

Shopping may be beneficial because it involves changes of scenery from shop to shop, which improves the child’s motor and social skills more than a sedentary activity, the report continued.

Image: Toddler shopping with father, via Shutterstock

What’s your toddler nutrition IQ?

You Know You Have A Toddler When...
You Know You Have A Toddler When...
You Know You Have A Toddler When...

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Kids’ Sugar, Salt Cravings May Have Developmental Purpose

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Kids who crave sweet and salty snacks might not only be drawn in by multicolored products and clever marketing schemes–they may actually be responding to a developmental instinct to ingest energy-boosting foods while they’re doing their most dramatic growth and development.  More on a study from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, from NPR.org:

The study included 108 kids, aged 5 to 10, as well as their moms. It turned out that the children who preferred sweet solutions over salty ones tended to be tall for their age. And there was a slight correlation between sweet preference and a biomarker of growth found in the kids’ urine.

Julie Mennella, the study’s lead author and a biopsychologist at Monell, says that scientists have known for a while that kids prefer both sweeter and saltier tastes than adults, and that kids to like sugar and salt. But no one could say exactly why.

This study suggests it has to do with children’s development — kids crave more energy and sugar because they’re growing, Mennella tells The Salt. This makes sense from an evolutionary perspective, since kids who sought out more calories were probably more likely to survive.

The researchers also looked into children’s’ salt intake, and found that the kids who preferred the saltiest foods tended to have more body fat. Mennella says that kids’ salt cravings might also be related to development, since our bodies associate salt with minerals essential to growth.

But the research, which Monday in the journal PLOS One, only shows that sweet and salty preferences are correlated to growth in children; it can’t show exactly how they’re related. Bigger, longitudinal studies would tell us more, Mennella says.

In the meantime, she says, the study does confirm just how hardwired kids are to consume super-sugary foods — like the candy and cereals that are now so heavily marketed to them. Nowadays, American children consume far and than they actually need.

And the widespread availability of these foods these days makes it easy for kids to overindulge, putting them at risk for obesity and diabetes, she says.

“When you understand the biology of taste, you realize how vulnerable they are to the food environment,” Mennella says.

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Image: Sugary cereal, via Shutterstock

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