Rewards And Punishments Become A Prison

Researchers investigated the impact of parenting practices on the amount of time young children spend in front of screens. They found a majority of parents use screen time to control behavior, especially on weekends. This results in children spending an average of 20 minutes more a day on weekends in front of a screen. Researchers say this is likely because using it as a reward or punishment heightens a child’s attraction to the activity.

We don’t use rewards and punishments because they have unpredictable results!

Advertising Works

A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests toddlers are more likely to demand specific breakfast cereals after viewing television advertisements for these products.

This naturalistic study demonstrates that child-directed high-sugar breakfast cereal TV advertising was prospectively associated with brand-specific high-sugar breakfast cereal intake among preschoolers. Findings indicate that child-directed advertising influences begin earlier and last longer than previously demonstrated, highlighting limitations of current industry guidelines regarding the marketing of high-sugar foods to children under age 6 years.

Fibber Island

Children know when you’re fibbing, and they don’t like it.

Stanford researchers found that children as young as 4 years old, under certain conditions, can discern “sins of omission” – misleading but technically accurate information. The researchers found that the order in which information is presented makes a dramatic difference for the study’s youngest participants.

Eye Dilation

I have noticed children with very dilated eyes. I wonder if they were working on something difficult that I didn’t know about.

Princeton University psychologist Daniel Kahneman showed several decades ago that pupil size increases in proportion to the difficulty of a task at hand. Calculate nine times 13 and your pupils will dilate slightly. Try 29 times 13 and they will widen further and remain dilated until you reach the answer or stop trying. Kahneman says in his book, Thinking Fast and Slow, that he could divine when someone gave up on a multiplication problem simply by watching for pupil contraction during the experiment.

“The pupils reflect the extent of mental effort in an incredibly precise way,” Kahneman said in an interview with the German news magazine Der Spiegel, adding, “I have never done any work in which the measurement is so precise.” When he instructed subjects to remember and recite a series of seven digits, their pupils grew steadily as the numbers were presented one by one and shrunk steadily as they unloaded the digits from memory.

Born To Run

As a long-distance runner, I’ve always wondered why about one-third of runners require corrective shoes for overpronation. I had a hunch that it’s probably related to the fact that in the west we wear shoes basically from birth, whereas the world’s best runners practice barefoot.

At least this one study makes it looks like yup.

Researchers show that children and adolescents who spend most of their time barefoot develop motor skills differently from those who habitually wear shoes. Published in Frontiers in Pediatrics, this is the first study to assess the relevance of growing up shod vs. barefoot on jumping, balancing and sprinting motor performance during different stages of childhood and adolescence. Results suggest that regular physical activity without shoes may improve children’s and adolescents’ balancing and jumping skills.

Baby Wipes Trigger Food Allergies

Most people who work with children wonder why there seem to be so many more allergies now than there were years ago. We generally assume it must be something in the environment. This study makes it specific. Baby wipes are a trigger for many allergies in children who are predisposed.

The factors contributing to food allergy include the genetics that alter skin absorbency, use of infant cleansing wipes that leave soap on the skin, skin exposure to allergens in dust and skin exposure to food from those providing infant care. Food allergy is triggered when these factors occur together.

Baby wipes are a thing that nobody had fifty years ago that now seem to be everywhere. And now allergies seem to be everywhere. They’re something we can do without.