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More intense parenting for first-born children mean they do better at school – new research

The Telegraph – Henry Bodkin

“First born children perform better at school because they receive more intense attention from their parents, new research reveals. Data from thousands of families over more than a decade found that parents spent the most time developing the thinking skills of their eldest son or daughter, but then became more relaxed with subsequent children. They tended to take part in fewer activities with their young children, such as reading with them, doing crafts and playing musical instruments.”(more)

Cooking at home tonight? It’s likely cheaper and healthier, study finds

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Researchers from the University of Washington School of Public Health have been peeking into kitchens – via interviews – for years now. They’ve just published results showing people who cook at home more often are likely to eat a healthier overall diet. “By cooking more often at home, you have a better diet at no significant cost increase, while if you go out more, you have a less healthy diet at a higher cost,” said Adam Drewnowski, director of the UW’s Center for Public Health Nutrition and senior author of “Cooking at home: A strategy to comply with U.S. dietary guidelines at no extra cost,” published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.”(more)

Poor sleep in early childhood may lead to cognitive, behavioral problems in later years

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“A study led by a Massachusetts General Hospital pediatrician finds that children ages 3 to 7 who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have problems with attention, emotional control and peer relationships in mid-childhood. Reported online in the journal Academic Pediatrics, the study found significant differences in the responses of parents and teachers to surveys regarding executive function – which includes attention, working memory, reasoning and problem solving—and behavioral problems in 7-year-old children depending on how much sleep they regularly received at younger ages.”(more)

Family pets boost child development

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Growing up with a pet can bring social, emotional and educational benefit to children and adolescents, according to a new University of Liverpool study. Youngsters with pets tend to have greater self-esteem, less loneliness, and enhanced social skills. This research adds strength to claims that household pets can help support healthy child development. “Anyone that has grown up with, and loved a family pet intrinsically feels the value of their companionship,” says project lead Dr Carri Westgarth, from the University’s Institute of Infection and Global Health.”(more)

Staying fit is a family affair – Kimberley Garrison

“These days, it seems there is just never enough time, right? With juggling your job, civic and church responsibilities, squeezing in kids’ extracurricular activities, who has time for exercise, right? Wrong! Staying fit and healthy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. As parents, we need to exercise daily as much for our own as for our children’s well-being. Like it or not, we are the living examples and role models for our children. Contrary to popular belief, parents, not pop stars, have the most influence over children’s lives.”(more)

Engaging fathers in parenting intervention improves outcomes for both kids and fathers

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“A parenting program where fathers engage with their children through reading was found to boost the fathers’ parenting skills while also improving the preschoolers’ school readiness and behavior, finds a study led by NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. “Unlike earlier research, our study finds that it is possible to engage fathers from low-income communities in parenting interventions, which benefits both the fathers and their children,” said Anil Chacko, associate professor of counseling psychology at NYU Steinhardt and the lead author of the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.”(more)