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Too Much TV Tied to Poor Math Scores

Published March 7, 2017 by teacher dahl

watching TV

Kindergartners, who spend more than a couple of hours per day watching television tend to score lower in tests of math and executive function, according to a new study by researchers at New York University’s (NYU) Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and Université Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia.

Studies have shown that TV watching is linked to declines in early academic skills, but little is known about how socioeconomic status influences television viewing and child development. In the new study, the researchers looked at whether the negative relationship between watching television and school readiness varied by family income.

“Given that studies have reported that children often watch more than the recommended amount, and the current prevalence of technology such as smartphones and tablets, engaging in screen time may be more frequent now than ever before,” said lead author Andrew Ribner, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt.

Kid on TV

The researchers analyzed data from 807 kindergartners of diverse backgrounds. Their parents reported family income, as well as the number of hours of television their children watch on a daily basis. Video game, tablet, and smartphone use were not included in the measurement.

Children were assessed using measures of math, knowledge of letters and words, and executive function — key cognitive and social-emotional competencies, including working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control, that are viewed as fundamental for school readiness.

The findings show that the number of hours of television young children watch is related to decreases in their school readiness, particularly their math skills and executive function. This association was strongest when children watched more than two hours of television.

As family incomes decreased, the link between television watching and drops in school readiness grew, meaning children from low-income families are more negatively affected by excess television. Those at or near the poverty line (an annual income of around $21,200 for a family of four) saw the largest drop in school readiness when children watched more than two hours of television.

A more modest drop was observed among middle-income families (measured as $74,200 per year for a family of four), while there was no link between school readiness and television viewing in high-income homes (measured as around $127,000 per year for a family of four).

Interestingly, while TV watching was negatively associated with math skills and executive function, a similar link was not found with letter and word knowledge. The researchers hypothesize that TV programming, especially educational programs for children, may help improve literacy among young children in ways that are not found in math.

While the study did not evaluate the type of content the children watched, nor the context of their television viewing, the researchers note that both may play a role in the findings, particularly in explaining why wealthier families seem to be protected from declines in school readiness linked to too much television.
Furthermore, affluent parents with more time and resources may be more likely to watch television with their children, offering explanation and discussion that can promote understanding.

“Our results suggest that the circumstances that surround child screen time can influence its detrimental effects on learning outcomes,” said Dr. Caroline Fitzpatrick of Université Sainte-Anne, who is also an affiliate researcher at Concordia University and a coauthor on the study.

The findings, published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, support current guidelines limiting screen time for young children. In 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that children over the age of two watch no more than two hours of television per day.

SOURCE

Adding Folic Acid to Bread Flour May Prevent Birth Defects

Published January 9, 2017 by teacher dahl

corn-flour
If you’re a Filipina who’s expecting a baby, your diet may be missing a key ingredient believed to help prevent certain kinds of birth defects.
That ingredient? Folic acid, which has long been used to fortify, or strengthen, certain enriched grains.

However, as Jonca Bull, M.D., director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Minority Health notes, “Many Hispanic women don’t benefit from the folic acid in cereal grain products because those products are not a mainstay of their regular diets—which often are bread flour-based.”

This could be a reason why Filipinas represent the highest percentage of U.S. women giving birth to children with neural tube defects (NTDs), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NTDs are birth defects of the brain, spine and spinal cord, such as anen¬cephaly and spina bifida.

The FDA has moved to help protect these women and their children by approving the addition of folic acid to corn masa flour, an ingredient in foods including tortillas, tacos, tortilla chips and tamales. Foods made from this flour are staple foods of Mexican and some Central and South American diets.

When consumed by pregnant women before and during pregnancy, folic acid—a B vitamin—may help to prevent neural tube defects.

folic

An Important Preventive Step
In 1998, in response to a recommendation by CDC and the U.S. Public Health Service, FDA made it easier for many expectant mothers to consume folic acid. The agency required the addition of folic acid to standardized enriched cereal grains, such as enriched rice and flour, and standardized enriched cereal grain products, such as enriched bread and macaroni.

Refined grains are enriched when certain B vitamins are added back after processing. Standardized foods contain ingredients required by FDA and are produced in a specified way.

“The reasoning was that enough people—including expectant mothers—eat enriched grains as a matter of course. And that could make a difference in the number of neural tube defects,” says Dennis M. Keefe, Ph.D., director of FDA’s Office of Food Additive Safety. In fact, the number of NTDs in the U.S. for all populations has since declined.
However, the incidence of neural tube defects in some Hispanic American populations has not declined to the same extent as in the general population.

So, FDA reviewed and approved a food additive petition from five organizations—the March of Dimes Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Spina Bifida Association, the National Council of La Raza, and Gruma Corporation—requesting that folic acid be added to corn masa flour. Manufacturers may now voluntarily add the amount of folic acid (up to 0.7 milligrams) per pound of corn masa flour that is consistent with the levels in the enriched cereal grains mandated in 1998.

“With this approval, FDA is taking a powerful, preventive public health action,” Bull says. “By adding folic acid to corn masa flour, we have the opportunity to impact a large segment of the U.S. population and protect parents and their children from the devastating birth defects that are linked to insufficient folic acid consumed by the mother before and during pregnancy.”

If You’re Pregnant or Thinking of Becoming Pregnant
CDC recommends that for folic acid to help prevent some major birth defects, a woman should start consuming 400 mcg a day at least one month before she becomes pregnant and the entire time while she is pregnant. For masa, cereals and grain products, read the ingredient statement to see if the food has been enriched with folic acid.

folate

Some easy ways to make sure to get enough folic acid are to:
• Eat a bowl of an enriched breakfast cereal that has 100% of the Daily Value of folic acid.
• Eat other enriched cereal grain products mandated to contain folic acid.
• Take a vitamin or multivitamin supplement that contains folic acid each day.
Talk to your health care provider about what’s best for you.

How to make a toddler to behave

Published September 16, 2014 by teacher dahl

deal

Each child is different, but sometimes, there are tricks that work better than others. Here are some discipline strategies other Pinay moms and I used that might work for you too.

1. Do not give in
My daughter could scream like a pig being slaughtered, but I would steadily chant in my head, “Be strong. Be strong. Be strong.” The moment she cried to get something, we took it away. We didn’t want her to equate the tantrum with getting her way.
Treena Ongking realized the same thing when her toddler Carlo would not pack away. She stopped doing it for him and told him he couldn’t take out more toys until his toys were stored. “It didn’t work at first,” she says. “I’d have to run and block Carlo from opening the cabinet. I encountered lots of tears. And there was a time when my husband came home from work to find wooden blocks and alphabet magnets all over. I told him that he shouldn’t pick up any of the toys because Carlo, by this time, had figured out that if he stalled long enough, his papa would end up tidying the mess.”

2. Distract your toddler
When Michelle Aujero-Trenfield’s daughter would misbehave, she tried to reason with her, but learned that it didn’t work. “So the strategy I employed was distraction,” she says. “She used to really enjoy pulling our beagle’s tail. So whenever she would do it, I would say ‘no’ in a stern voice and distract her with another activity like running around or playing ball. When she did have meltdowns, either her dad or I would just give her a cuddle and try and distract her.”

3. Save the talk for when they are calm
“In the heat of the moment, reasoning will not work,” says Tricel de Guzman. “Instead, I leave my daughter in her room for a moment, telling her that I will wait until she’s calm and ready. When she has calmed down, that’s the time I talk to her.”

4. Get away from the crowd
When your toddler is acting up, an audience will be your downfall. I learned early on that I needed to get away from the scene of the crime and take my toddler some place quiet where she could finish her tantrum in peace—away from judging eyes.

5. Model proper behavior
“I find that the best way to correct behavior is to model it to your child,” says Michelle. “My daughter says please and thank you a lot, but it always frustrated me that she never said (or wanted to say!) sorry. Then we realized that it was because we hardly said it. So my husband and I started saying sorry and before long, she started doing it as well.”

6. Be consistent
Tricel says no matter how tempting it is to “let this one slide,” the behavior you are trying to instill will not become a habit if your child thinks you aren’t serious about your rules. So grit your teeth and stay consistent!

7. Reward good behavior and give consequences for undesirable ones
“As we all know, toddlers take forever to eat,” says Mitzi Benares-Nguyen. “I eventually came up with this rule: No snacks for the rest of the day if you don’t finish your lunch, and for dinner, no prize. This prize is usually a small cookie or anything sweet (chocolates are not allowed at night). So far, so good. When they complain about not wanting to finish their food, I remind them of my rules, then they stuff their mouths with a big subo.”

8. Turn it into a game!
Packing away doesn’t have to be a chore. You can sing a pack away song or you can put a basketball hoop above a hamper or toy container and have them shoot their toys and clothes in. You just need a little more creativity, but in the end, you’ll be less stressed and will face less tears.

So, parents, what discipline strategies work for you?

from : Yahoo she

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