Today in: Ridiculous Studies…
A study published last week in the journal Cognition by a team of Yale researchers deployed this line of analysis and produced a headline that no doubt caught the eye of many Baby Bjorn-toting parents: Babies Reluctant to Grab Plants. The study reported that infant subjects took much longer to touch plants than a variety of other objects.
Also, here’s a bit of link-baiting—the study uses the word “reluctant,” the story headline uses the word “fear.” Not exactly the same thing. I mean, I’m reluctant to exercise, but I don’t fear it. No, I fear werewolves.
Anyway, the study’s author suggests babies won’t touch plants because of some vestigial hunter-gatherer nonsense. According to the study, babies wait to see if other people touch a rhododendron, for example, before determining it’s safe for them… though, I just Googled “rhododendron” and learned it’s actually poisonous for kids. Who knew?
Not me. Or babies, apparently.
Despite their “pumped up kicks,” kids today aren’t running nearly as fast as their parents did at the same age.
They clearly haven’t met Wyatt. That kid is faster than most adults.
Anyway, for other kids, it seems that old villain weight is to blame…
The reason is simple: they’re carrying too much body fat, making it “more difficult [for them] to move through space,” explains lead researcher Grant Tomkinson, Ph.D., a senior lecturer in the University of South Australia’s School of Health Sciences, whose research was presented Tuesday at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting in Dallas.
However, researchers also cite a lack of actual running space as a contributing factor. As Joni Mitchell sang, when “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot,” they literally removed green space for our kids to run.
That explains why Wyatt and Boone constantly sprint up and down our hall.
Child-centric parenting lets parents find more meaning in childcare.
Read more. [Image: pasukaru76/flickr]
Cool! Yet another thing you can legitimately blame on your kids.
Exposure to poverty in early childhood was associated with smaller brain structures later in life…
Just another example of poverty’s unseen effects. There is hope, however. The study’s authors said:
"The finding that the effects of poverty on hippocampal development are mediated through care-giving and stressful life events further underscores the importance of high-quality early childhood care-giving, a task that can be achieved through parenting education and support, as well as through preschool programs that provide high-quality supplementary care-giving and safe haven to vulnerable young children."
So, once again, education is the answer. And… why do we keep cutting school and support funding again? Oh, right. Because legislators are assholes who don’t care about kids.
I’m sorry, but this seems like another one of those non-brainer revelations. Of course your kid will learn language better if you speak to them. Who doesn’t speak to their child? Well, apparently, some don’t, according to these two recent studies.
Anyway, one important discovery: Just hearing word doesn’t count. You must direct language at the child. From the story in Stanford’s Scope blog, some insight from Anne Fernald, PhD, associate professor of psychology and the senior author of these studies…
"An 18-month old child cannot understand complex syntax or abstract words," Fernald said. But when an adult or an older child talks directly to the toddler at the right level – speaking in a way the young child can relate to – the child gets valuable practice in interpreting language. "Those Baby Einstein videos don’t take the child into account, because they don’t engage the child directly. They don’t work," Fernald said.
I’ve written before about how both my wife and I spoke to our boys (and our dog, for that matter) as if they always could speak, as if they understood everything we said. We believe that led to their firm grasp of language and communication. And smartassery.
Someone should do a study to explain why our dog never got it, though.
Lessley Anderson • In a new editorial, discussing those who choose not to vaccinate their children, published by The Verge earlier this week. Anderson takes a rather strong stance in the article, arguing that those who choose not to vaccinate are endangering more than just their own families, and even suggests that vaccine deniers are just plain “dumb.” What say you, dear SFB readers? Think Anderson was being a bit rough on the anti-vaccination crowd, or was she dead-on with her critique? (via shortformblog)
Children who go to to bed at irregular hours are more likely to have behavioral problems, according to a study published Monday.
We try to get our boys down at the same time every night, though not for this reason. For us, it’s more about sanity (and allowing time for our semi-regular cocktail/Project Runway viewing).
Anyway, this behavioral issue seems to have biological roots. From the story:
Inconsistent bedtimes can disrupt natural body rhythms and cause sleep deprivation, impairing brain development and the ability to regulate some behaviors, the research showed.
No word on how to get your kid’s bedtime on track, so I recommend the time-tested method of dosing your child with NyQuil.