Posts Tagged ‘ research ’

The American Academy of Pediatrics Recommends Later School Start Times for Teens

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Pediatricians Recommends Later School Start Times for TeensAs teenagers across the country head back to school, many are starting what will be yet another year of little sleep. But consider this: A consistent lack of shuteye can be much more serious than feeling fatigued in biology.

Studies show sleep deprivation puts teens at risk for things like car accidents and can lead to poor academic performance and ill health. Citing this topic as an “important public health issue,” the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a recommendation that middle schools and high schools start classes at or after 8:30 a.m. to allow students the chance to get more sleep regularly.

“Chronic sleep loss in children and adolescents is one of the most common – and easily fixable – public health issues in the U.S. today,” said pediatrician Judith Owens, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement, in an AAP press release.

The AAP states that the optimal amount of sleep time for teens is between 8 1/2 and 9 1/2 hours per night. But as students get older and responsibilities pile up, a mix of homework, extracurricular activities, and after-school jobs leads to even later nights, which can make it very difficult to meet the sleep goal.

The possibility of making this policy change in schools across the nation is also tough. School districts struggle with financial and logistical challenges that include providing school busing services for elementary, middle, and high schools. It can be difficult for enough buses to shuttle kids to all of the schools in one time frame, which can also strain school district budgets. Ultimately, “the issue is really cost,” Kristen Amundson, executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education, told the AP.

Does your child’s lack of sleep affect her performance at school? Take a look at these tips to boost her school success.

Helping Your Child Succeed At School
Helping Your Child Succeed At School
Helping Your Child Succeed At School

Photo of girl sleeping courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Mom-to-Be Stress Linked to Higher Rates of Asthma

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Don’t freak out: Scentists are finding that a mom-to-be’s stress levels can have significant effects on a child’s future health, including delays in cognitive development, behavioral issues, and even an increased risk of autism. The latest link? Scientists have found that maternal stress could increase the risk that babies develop allergy-induced asthma.

The study, produced by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, focused on mice, and found that even a single stressful situation could flood the baby’s bloodstream with stress hormones like corticosterone, and lead to a greater chance that the baby develops allergy-based asthma after birth.

What’s the takeaway? Do what you can to relax, unwind, and reduce stress throughout your pregnancy, to help protect your baby’s health.

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Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?

 

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Parents Spend $1,360 Per Year For…

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Surveys show that raising a child to age 18 will likely cost parents around $250,000. But in addition to child care, food, health care and other essentials, it looks like $1,360 a year is paid in cash to children under 10, either in the form of weekly allowance, cash gifts, or out-and-out bribes for good behavior, according to a new survey. Coupon site vouchercloud.net surveyed 2,173 parents, and found that they paid out about $113 each month to each child under 10. (No word on what parents are shelling out for tweens and teens!) But it seems much of that is under duress—two thirds of those surveyed wished that they didn’t hand over so much cash to their kids.

An allowance presents a good opportunity to help teach children about fiscal responsibility, and allowing them to learn to save their money toward financial goals, before they get access to credit or that very first real paycheck. And apparently, more parents are trying to start that financial education early.

How financially savvy are you with your paycheck? Take our quiz to find out!

Manners & Responsibility:  Should You Tie Allowance to Chores?
Manners & Responsibility:  Should You Tie Allowance to Chores?
Manners & Responsibility: Should You Tie Allowance to Chores?

Image: Girl with bank by Gelpi JM/Shutterstock.com

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Math and Reading Skills Are Affected by the Same Genes

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

A point against the idea that there’s a good-at-math gene you’re lacking—scientists have discovered that many of the genes that influence a child’s math ability also impact their skill at reading. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, compared DNA and math and reading test results for nearly 2,800 12-year-olds in the UK, looking for DNA differences and how skills matched up.

Of course, there isn’t complete overlap (could that account for the lack of math or language prowess in an otherwise brilliant person?)—and the study authors also found that nurture can also play a role in whether your child becomes the next Einstein or Shakespeare.

“We looked at this question in two ways, by comparing the similarity of thousands of twins, and by measuring millions of tiny differences in their DNA. Both analyses show that similar collections of subtle DNA differences are important for reading and maths,” study author Oliver Davis, of University College London, said in a school news release.

“However, it’s also clear just how important our life experience is in making us better at one or the other. It’s this complex interplay of nature and nurture as we grow up that shapes who we are.”

Not sure where your child’s talents lie? Take our quiz.

What Kids Like (And Don't Like) About School
What Kids Like (And Don't Like) About School
What Kids Like (And Don't Like) About School

Image: Kids at school by Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com

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Overscheduling Kids Could Slow Development of Problem-Solving Skills

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

If you ever needed an excuse not to sign up for soccer and karate and piano lessons, here it is: A new study published in Frontiers in Psychology suggests that overscheduling kids impairs their ability to develop executive functions. (That’s a series of essential skills, including self direction, problem solving, and decision making.) That’s on top of a previous study, published last year in Parenting: Science and Practice, that showed that preschoolers whose parents directed their play were less happy than those who were given free rein to play what they wanted.

The study involved 70 six-year-olds, whose parents recorded their children’s daily activities for a week, and they were rated as structured vs. free play. Those who had more free play performed better on a test where they were asked to name as many animals as they could in a minute, because they were better able to organize their thoughts and produce more answers.

So maybe cutting back on the classes could do more for your kids in the long run.

Are you a helicopter parent? Find out with our quiz.

Playing With Baby: Memory Building Activities
Playing With Baby: Memory Building Activities
Playing With Baby: Memory Building Activities

Image: Kids playing by Sergey Novikov/Shutterstock.com

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