Mothers who don’t breastfeed have something new to worry about. In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, 32 mothers gave their babies a cows-milk-based formula and 24 mothers gave a formula with smaller, pre-digested proteins. After 2.5 months the cows-milk-formula babies had significantly higher weight per length. By 3.5 months they had significantly higher weight per age. Although both groups started to eat solid food at about the same time, the cows-milk-formula babies continued to add to their early weight gains. It seems that the special-formula babies wanted to drink less – at least that was the “formulated” explanation.

As children get older, parents are meant to limit screen time – television, computer and Smartphone. According to a survey of 2,200 mothers commissioned by software maker AVG Technologies, 14% of children aged 4-5 could tie their shoes; but 21% could use a Smartphone application. Among children 2-5, 52% knew how to ride a bike; but 56% could play a computer game and 69% could operate a computer mouse. Twenty percent knew how to swim, but 25% could open a Web browser. The American Academy of Pediatricians says to limit elementary schoolers to 1 hr of screen time daily and high schoolers to 2 hours. However, that may be a case of adults saying do what I say – not what I do.

A study published by the AAP specifically recommended that parents limit their children’s video game time. The study found excessive gaming could lead to depression, anxiety and poor grades. Researchers who looked at more than 3,000 Singapore elementary and middle schoolers found almost 9% were excessive gamers. Excessive gamers played more than 31 hours a week. Boys were likelier to play excessively, as were more impulsive or socially awkward children. For parents of gamers the AAP’s screen time recommendations could be a “game plan”.

Finally, researchers at Brigham Young University surveyed 5,000 7th-12th graders about their alcohol use and their parents. Teenagers raised by indulgent parents who praised but seldom punished their children were 3 times likelier to binge drink. Teens raised by strict parents who did all the decision-making were 2 times likelier to binge drink. The parenting style that led to the lowest levels of problem drinking coupled warmth and support with consequences for bad behavior. According to the experts, parents should start talking to their children about alcohol when they’re in 4th grade – a “sobering” thought.

Knight Pierce Hirst takes a second look at what makes life interesting and it takes only second at http://knightwatch.typepad.com

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