Posts filed under ‘Health’

Naps are Key to Positive Engagement in Toddlers

Sleeping ToddlerA 2012 study from the University of Colorado Boulder confirms what most parents of two to three year-old toddlers instinctively know: missing a daytime nap results in “crankier” kids.   The study showed that, “toddlers between 2 and a half and 3 years old who miss only a single daily nap show more anxiety, less joy and interest and a poorer understanding of how to solve problems, said CU-Boulder Assistant Professor Monique LeBourgeois, who led the study.”

The facial expressions of children in the study were videotaped an hour after taking their regular nap, and on a different day after having missed their nap time.

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January 5, 2012 at 11:35 pm Leave a comment

The Benefits of Family Meal Time

Family MealBeing a parent of an infant or toddler is a wonderful, and yet at times, exhausting role.  It’s tempting to get food prepared for the kids, and worry about yourself later, particularly if you have a picky eater.  However, research shows that families who share most mealtimes together raise kids who are healthier – both physically and emotionally – and who do better in school.   As soon as your baby is eating solid foods, it’s a good idea instill the habit of eating together as a family, particularly given the vocabulary advantages for preschoolers who eat with their parents and siblings.

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October 13, 2010 at 9:46 am Leave a comment

Playing in the Dirt: A Boost for Your Child’s Immune System

The following article was originally published in the PEPS July 2010 Newsletter

Playing in the DirtThe sun is (finally) out, and the kids can’t wait to get outside!  Young children love to dig in the dirt, play with shovels and pails, and particularly when paired with summer water toys, frequently start to resemble Charlie Brown’s friend Pig-Pen.  Like many moms, I wince when my toddler takes a break from his garden play and proceeds to grab some snack and shove it in his mouth, filthy hands and all.

But it turns out that a series of studies suggest that kids benefit from dirt – or more specifically (and frankly disgustingly), the bacteria, viruses, and worms – yes worms! – that live in less-than-sterile environments.   (more…)

July 26, 2010 at 10:59 pm 1 comment

Improving Balance and Motor Skills Through Motion

Mom Spinning DaughterOne of the more unusual research findings that I’ve come across relates to the sensitive period for the vestibular system which regulates our perception of our balance and motion.   According to at least one study, spinning infants (thereby stimulating the vestibular system) may help improve their sense of balance and coordination many months and potentially years later.

If you read our post on baby brain development, you’ll recall that various areas in a child’s brain have sensitive periods during which they undergo tremendous growth.   The vestibular senses emerge quite early in the womb and develop through infancy, with peak sensitivity between (more…)

June 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm 1 comment

Pesticides and Brain Development in Children

Pesticide Warning in Lettuce Field

Update:  In April 2013, new studies showed that heavy use of RoundUp could be linked to a series of diseases and health problems, including Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers.

Children, particularly infants and toddlers, are uniquely vulnerable to toxins.  While in utero or as infants, their internal systems are less capable than adults of processing pesticides and other toxins.  As toddlers, they spend time crawling or otherwise wrastling on the floor, putting pretty much anything that fits into their mouths, and playing in the dirt (indeed, that can be great for their immune systems!).  However, this constant exploration of the world requires that we, as caregivers, be particularly diligent about limiting their exposure to harmful chemicals.

Preliminary studies published in the Journal of Pediatrics in May, 2010 showed that higher than average exposure to common agricultural pesticides is correlated with a significant increase (55% to 100%) in the incidence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).   This research is consistent with (more…)

June 3, 2010 at 10:41 pm 1 comment

What’s All the Fuss About BPA?

BPA Bottles and CansFrankly, it’s not entirely clear: Bisphenol-A (BPA) is still under investigation.  However, studies on BPA are showing concerning data that warrant caution from parents.  According to the National Institutes of Health, “Evidence from animal studies indicates BPA may cause adverse effects such as obesity, behavioral changes, diabetes, early onset puberty, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, reproductive disorders, development of prostate, breast and uterine cancer, and transgenerational or epigenetic effects.”   Additionally, preliminary studies have suggested a relationship between BPA levels during early stages of pregnancy and behavioral patterns that are atypical for a given gender in toddlers.  (more…)

May 19, 2010 at 9:51 pm Leave a comment

DHA and Omega-3 Demystified

Omega fatty acid, DHA, Omega-3, Omega-6, fish oil, flax oil… ACK!!  Confused?  You’re not alone.

Omega Fatty Acids

While most adults assume that they should reduce fat in their diets, fat is actually a critical building block for the developing brain of a child.  Getting sufficient supplies of the right types of fats are important for your child’s brain growth and development.   (more…)

May 18, 2010 at 10:32 pm 2 comments


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