February 15, 2013

Parenting roundup: Violin lessons, fruits, veggies and folic acid, hovering parents and depressed kids


Those violin lessons weren't a waste of time after all: Learning an instrument 'makes children grow up smarter'

Research shows that sending youngsters to music classes from age seven will speed the development of motor skills - the part of your brain that plans and carries out movement.  There is a special window of learning between the ages of six and eight when musical training interacts with motor development, producing long term changes to the brain, according to the study.

'Learning to play an instrument requires coordination between hands and with visual or auditory stimuli,' said lead researcher Virginia Penhune, professor of psychology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. 'Importantly, the younger a musician started, the greater the connectivity.
The findings were published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Pregnant women who take folic acid could reduce their child's risk of autism by 40%

Women who take folic acid supplements early in their pregnancy may reduce their child’s risk of autism by 40 per cent, a study found.

But mothers-to-be should start taking them four weeks before conceiving and eight weeks afterwards to get the full benefit for their unborn child. The timing of taking prenatal supplements is critical, scientists warn.

Folic acid - Vitamin B9 - is required for DNA synthesis and repairs. It’s naturally occurring form, folate, is found in leafy vegetables, peas, lentils, beans, eggs, yeast, and liver.  Folic acid is known to protect against spina bifida and other neural tube defects in children but the latest research, which looks at more than 85,000 babies born in Norway between 2002 and 2008, shows that it may offer protection against Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Unborn babies get taste for fruit and vegetables from their mothers

The parental crusade to get children to eat fruit and vegetables should begin before birth, researchers said.

Babies are more accepting of foods their mothers eat often while pregnant  Study indicates they get also get a taste for novel foods through breast milk.

The research was carried out by the Monell Centre in Philadelphia

Children with controlling 'helicopter parents' are more likely to be depressed

Researchers warn that the overbearing parenting style, known as 'helicopter parenting' - where parents hover over their children and become too involved in their lives - affects a child's ability to get on with others.

While some parental involvement helps children develop, too much can make them more likely to be depressed and less satisfied with their lives, they say.  The findings also suggested that children of over controlling parents feel less competent and less able to manage life and its stressors. 

The research, from the University of Mary Washington in the U.S., involved 297 American graduate students aged 18 to 23.

Posted by Jill Fallon at February 15, 2013 11:23 AM | Permalink