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Forget for a moment what you've read about screen time and weight gain. A new study by Ryerson University has found that a spot of Angry Birds before mealtime can, in fact, cause boys to eat less, not more.
Contrary to everything we've been led to believe about screen time (including gaming) contributing to obesity, this research seems to turn that assumption on its head. Nutrition professor Nick Bellissimo concluded that boys who played a game before eating pizza consumed an average of 50 fewer calories than if they hadn't played.
In short, this study could be a game changer that will force researchers (not to mention parents and nutritionists) to rethink everything we thought we knew about gaming.
The boys involved in the study at Ryerson's Food Intake Regulation Satiety Testing (FIRST) lab were all 14 years old, in a "healthy body weight range.”
The mood was crucial to the set up, because the boys tended to be happy after a gaming session, which in turn prevented them from overeating at their next meal.
Of course these are otherwise healthy, active boys, and the inference is that they are not spending hours gaming.
That's not to say that parents should actively encourage their kids to play more games. But most of us can rest assured that 30 minutes of Angry Birds before dinner won't hurt in the long run, either.
This study is the first in a series in which Bellissimo looks at the effect of screen time on boys' appetites. Interestingly, a similar experiment with girls revealed no significant difference in appetite.
After a year of constantly schlepping forgotten items to her fourth grader, one mom decided to lay down a new law: no more rescuing.
After all, it wasn't a one-off. We're talking about the child who always seems to shirk responsibilities and forgets homework and lunch and coats routinely. In attempt to teach her boys some conscientiousness, Jordana Horn vowed to quit coming to their rescue every time they screwed up.
Not only was there the assumption that mom would always run to provide the missed item, Horn found herself growing weary and annoyed from all the running. So she quit micro-managing her sons' lives and solving all of their problems for them.
The fact that Horn's children are entering their "double digits" means they are ready to shoulder more responsibility. And it goes without saying that this practice applies only to "repeat offenders," and in cases where the child could face genuine risk, Horn would no doubt intervene. For everything else, though, they are expected to own their mistakes, even if that means facing the music (e.g. being punished).
“A popular expression in parenting education circles is: ‘A child who always forgets has a parent who always remembers,’" says Amy McCready, author of If I Have to Tell You One More Time. "If we rescue kids from their repeated forgetfulness, we rob them of the opportunity to take personal responsibility and learn from their missteps. Who will be there to rescue them in college or at their first job?”
Of course, some children are more absentminded and some may genuinely struggle with organizational skills. It's important to support these kids and set them up with systems to help them succeed.
Sounds like straight-up common sense. Does that mean this self-professed helicopter mama is reformed?
You tell me: Have you ever taken a 'no rescue' approach when your child needed something?
The jury's out... When is a child old enough to play outside unsupervised?