Study: Parents May Talk Less To Their Kids When Experiencing Financial Scarcity

California [US], January 24 (ANI): A team of researchers has provided the first evidence that parents may talk less to their kids when experiencing financial scarcity.

The study has been published in the ‘Developmental Science Journal’. “We were interested in what happens when parents think about or experience financial scarcity and found evidence that such strain could suppress their speech to their children,” said study senior author Mahesh Srinivasan, a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley.

“Our results suggest that parenting training may not be sufficient to close the academic achievement gap without addressing the broader issue of income inequality,” Srinivasan added.

The study’s preliminary results lend credence to the developmental and educational benefits of such poverty-cutting government programs as the federal American Rescue Plan’s Child Tax Credit and other supplemental cash payouts for needy families.

“Existing interventions toward eliminating the word gap have often focused on improving parenting skills,” Srinivasan said.

“But our findings suggest that relieving parents of their financial burdens, such as through direct cash transfers, could also substantially change the ways they engage with their kids,” he added.

In the first experiment, researchers sought to observe how parents would interact with their children (in this case, 3-year-olds) after the parents were asked to describe times in which they had recently experienced scarcity. A control group of parents were instead asked to describe other recent activities.

Of the 84 parents in the study, those in the experimental group who described their experiences of financial scarcity spoke less to their 3-year-olds during laboratory observations than parents who reflected on other forms of scarcity (like not having enough fruit), or parents who had not been asked to recollect experiences of resource insecurity.

The second experiment used existing data collected via LENA technology, tiny “talk pedometer” devices worn by children that record their conversations and count the words they hear and say.

As the researchers predicted, analyses revealed that parents engaged in fewer conversational turns with their children at the month’s end, a time that typically coincides with money being tight as parents await paychecks or other sources of income.

“Because we had recordings from the same parents at different times of the month, we could essentially use parents as their own controls,” said study lead author Monica Ellwood-Lowe, a Ph.D. student in psychology at UC Berkeley.

“This allowed us to really pinpoint differences in their speech patterns when they were more or less likely to be experiencing financial strain, independent of any of their own personal characteristics,” she added.

The term “word gap” was coined in the early 1990s when University of Kansas researchers Betty Hart and Todd Risley tracked verbal interactions in the homes of 42 families to study early language development in the children’s first three years.

Each day, the researchers recorded an hour of conversation in each household, and then counted all the words the children heard during those recording times.

The results were detailed in their 1995 book, Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children, and in a 2003 follow-up article, “The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3.”

While some have questioned Hart and Risley’s methodology, their basic finding has been replicated many times, prompting calls for approaches to narrow the disparity. Enter Srinivasan and his research team:

“It struck us that what was missing from the conversation about the word gap was the possibility that poverty, and the many difficult experiences associated with it, could itself affect parents’ speech,” Srinivasan said.

Preliminary findings support the researchers’ hypothesis but also call for a deeper dive into the relationship between money worries and parents’ verbal engagement with their children, he said.

“This research doesn’t mean that children whose parents are struggling financially are doomed to have smaller vocabularies,” Ellwood-Lowe said.

“The takeaway here is really just the importance of making sure parents have the resources they need to parent,” she added.

“If you are worried about putting food on the table tonight, or scraping together money for that medical bill, or figuring out where to enroll your child in school now that you have been evicted from your neighborhood, you may be less likely to narrate the color of the sky to your child as you ride together on the bus,” the study concluded.

Study: Parenting Interventions Support Psychosocial Adjustment Of Kids In Foster, Adoptive Families

Washington [US], January 22 (ANI): A new study has found that attachment-based parenting interventions–which seek to improve the quality of the parent-child relationship–increase the psychosocial adjustment of children in foster and adoptive families.

The study has been published in the ‘Campbell Systematic Reviews Journal’. Results also suggested that attachment-based interventions increase positive parenting behaviours.

The review included studies from the United States, The Netherlands, the UK, Italy, and Belgium and was published between 1977 and 2020.

“Attachment-based parenting interventions show very promising effects within both foster and adoptive families, but we need more evidence to know if the effects of these interventions are sustainable over time and if the interventions reduce the risk of a placement breakdown,” said co-author Nina Thorup Dalgaard, of the Danish knowledge-providing organization VIVE.

Kanye West Slams Kim Kardashian For Raising Their Kids By Nannies, Cameras

Washington [US], January 16 (ANI): Rapper Kanye West took a dig at his ex-wife Kim Kardashian and slammed her for raising their brood in limelight and with the help of nannies.

Aiming at the Kardashians and his ex-wife Kim’s new beau-comedian Pete Davidson, West dropped a new track ‘Eazy’, on Saturday. From expressing his eagerness to beat Davidson, West also took a dig at Kim for how he thinks she is raising their brood.

Right off the bat, Kanye says “How I ain’t bring nothing to the table when I’m the table?” going on to rap that he is going to “turn up the music, wake up the neighbours,” among other incendiary lyrics.

He hits the point home even more so later when he raps “N****, we havin’ the best divorce ever // If we go to court, we’ll go to court together // Matter of fact, pick up your sis, we’ll go to Kourt’s together.”

He adds, “watched four kids for like five hours today,” echoing what he claimed about allegedly being restricted from time with his children. But then, he raps, “I got love for the nannies, but real family is better // The cameras watch the kids, y’all stop takin’ the credit.”

Speaking of his kids, Kanye raps, “When you give ’em everything, they only want more // Boujee and unruly, y’all need to do some chores // Rich-a** kids, this ain’t yo mama house // Climb on your brother’s shoulders, get that Top Ramen out.”

And, of course, the Davidson line everyone knew was coming … “God saved me from that crash // Just so I can beat Pete Davidson’s a**.” In the same breath, he shouts out his new girlfriend, Julia Fox, rapping “And my new bi**h bad // I know Illuminati mad.”

The song is getting tons of love, with people saying West is back to rhyming like he used to during his ‘College Dropout’ days.

Ranveer Singh’s Christmas Celebration With Kids From Save The Children Foundation

Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh, who is basking in love and appreciation for his latest film ’83’, went to celebrate Christmas with kids at the Save the Children foundation.

Dressed in a funky, multicoloured sweater, Ranveer spent the day with the kids who were all wearing Santa caps. He went on to cut a chocolate cake, featuring his picture as the legendary Kapil Dev in ’83’.

He also clicked individual selfies with the little ones, who were overjoyed to meet the star.

’83’, written by Kabir Khan, Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan and Vasan Bala, revolves around India’s historical 1983 Cricket World Cup win.

Apart from Ranveer, the film also features Deepika Padukone, Pankaj Tripathi, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Jiiva, Saqib Saleem, Chirag Patil, Harrdy Sandhu, Ammy Virk, Jatin Sarna and others.

Alec & Hilaria Baldwin Celebrate Christmas In The Hamptons With Their Kids

Alec and Hilaria Baldwin are spending quality family time this Christmas.

As per People Magazine, Alec is currently involved in an investigation into the October death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who died on the set of his film ‘Rust’ when a prop gun Alec was holding went off, killing Hutchins. Hilaria shared several photos on Instagram from the family’s festivities together in the Hamptons, featuring their six children — daughters Carmen Gabriela and Maria Lucia Victoria plus sons Rafael Thomas, Leonardo Angel Charles, Romeo Alejandro David, and Eduardo “Edu” Pao Lucas.

In one post shared on her Instagram feed, Hilaria’s children can be seen posing with Santa Claus, though her two youngest kids were captured less than enthused about the Christmas photo.

“Reality vs….well….reality. This was the best we got from the photo batch,” the mother of six wrote alongside the festive shot.

She added, “Happy Christmas Eve y Feliz Nochebuena. Our love to you and your families. Amor, amor!!!!”

On her Instagram Story, Hilaria also shared some snaps of holiday-themed activities the family took part in, including building gingerbread houses and baking cookies.

Earlier this week, a source told the People Magazine that the couple would be “spending a quiet holiday with the children in the Hamptons.”

In the latest development in the ‘Rust’ shooting case, investigators have issued a search warrant for Alec’s phone.

As local authorities in New Mexico continue to investigate the tragic accident — with production on the film halted — a source has told People Magazine that Alec is leaning on his wife and kids, including 26-year-old daughter Ireland with ex Kim Basinger.

“It’s such an unthinkable tragedy and the grief and trauma for him are unbearable. Alec is still in shock and his heart is completely broken. He is doing his best to cope and is leaning on Hilaria and the kids for support,” the source said.

Christmas with a Difference! Children enjoy Gifts & Cake by I3T volunteers

Pradip & Kumkum Ghosh Family Foundation & I3T volunteers bring smiles on beautiful faces with Christmas Gifts and Cakes

Kolkata: This year’s Christmas is very much different for Raghu (Name Changed). He stays in this Orphanage (name withheld) located in Kolkata since he was two years old. This indeed is a different Christmas with Cakes and lot of Gifts and a tasty full meal today for all his friends too who stay here together and share the joy & challenges of life together!

As reported by UNICEF in its latest report, India’s growth over the last two decades has contributed phenomenally to global human development. Extreme poverty in India reduced to 21 per cent, infant mortality has more than halved, some 80 per cent of women now deliver in a health facility and two million fewer children are out-of-school. These are significant achievements for a country that is home to nearly a sixth of the world’s population. But tough challenges still remain and India’s economic successes have not resulted in improved quality of life for everyone everywhere, especially children. High levels of malnutrition (38.4 per cent children are stunted), poor learning outcomes (only 42.5 per cent of children in grade three can read a grade one text), vaccine preventable diseases and child labour persist.

Children having lunch arranged by I3T volunteers.

India is the only large country where more girls die than boys, with the inverse sex ratio at birth being 900 girls born for every 1000 boys. Globally 7 per cent more boys die under the age of 5 compared to girls but in India, 11 per cent more girls die under the age of five. Children from rural areas, slums and urban poor families, scheduled castes, tribal communities and other disadvantaged populations suffer from multiple deprivations related to poverty, malnutrition, access to quality health services, child marriage, poor school attendance, low learning outcomes, lack of sanitation facilities, hygiene, and access to improved water. India has the largest adolescent population in the world, 253 million, and every fifth person is between 10 to 19 years. India stands to benefit socially, politically and economically if this large number of adolescents are safe, healthy, educated and equipped with information and life skills to support the country’s continued development.

We should not forget that in India,

  • India is home to the largest undernourished population in the world
  • 189.2 million People i.e, 14 % of India’s population is under nourished
  • 20% of children under age 5 are underweight
  • 34.7 % of children under 5 years of age are stunted

Pradip and Kumkum Ghosh Family Foundation is committed to change the lives of millions of such children through social outreach initiatives. On the occasion of pre-Christmas celebrations, researchers and volunteers from the foundation visited one of the oldest orphanages of Calcutta to celebrate the festival of cakes with the kids. A cake cutting ceremony was followed by song, dance and lot of gifts (including winter clothing and blankets) amid claps and cheer by the crowd. After that all had the hot tasty full meal. Every smiling face was beaming with Christmas joy and happiness!

cake for children.

Such moments in their lives are not very often. Though they are taken care off by the orphanage, but social and goodwill interventions of such kind lifts their spirits up. India needs bigger interventions in this domain to change the lives of millions of such children. Corporates should come along to this cause.

Under the aegis of Pradip and Kumkum Ghosh Family Foundation, International Institute of Innovation and Technology (I3T) was inaugurated on January 1, 2018 with a vision of serving the healthcare needs of the public in West Bengal and in our country at large. I3T is a partner of Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, the leading university of public health in the world. This alliance is first of its kind in India, where Johns Hopkins is establishing the Johns Hopkins University Maternal and Child Health Center India (MCHI) and the Vaccine Research Center, along with International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC). This collaboration with The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH), USA is for various Research and Public Health initiatives. The institute aims to provide educational and research programs in the public health domain for the first time in Eastern India. “This strategic alliance is going to improve the basic health care facilities and research aspects of public health care on a large scale in India, says Dr. Pradip Ghosh, Founder Chairman of the foundation and I3T, a visionary educationist and a social entrepreneur, who believes strongly in the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam’ (The world is one family).   

Pradip and Kumkum Ghosh Family Foundation has been involved in different initiatives in health sector in India since 2014 through its various social outreach activities. Amidst the crisis of COVID 19 during the second wave, Foundation tried to implement the Rapid Antigen Services in the rural centre of Shreenagar PHC in collaboration with AIIMS- Kalyani and also around 300 oxygen concentrators were handed over to state health department, ESI hospital, Police Stations, Bharat Sevashram Sangha, various complexes & NGOs. Foundation is committed to impact and change the lives of millions of Indians through education and public health initiatives.

Study: Whole Fat Milk Is As Good As Low-Fat For Kids

A recent study by a team of researchers from the Edith Cowan University asserted that whole fat milk is as good as low-fat milk for kids.

The study has been published in the ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’. It suggested the current public health advice recommending children over the age of two consume low-fat dairy products may need to be revised.

ECU’s Associate Professor Therese O’Sullivan led the investigation into the consumption of full-fat dairy products in children as part of the Milky Way study.

Over a three-month period, 49 healthy children aged four to six were randomly allocated to receive either whole-fat or low-fat dairy products in place of their normal dairy intake.

Dairy products were home delivered every fortnight in plain packaging at no cost to the participants, to ensure purchase price wasn’t a factor.

Neither group knew whether they were consuming whole-fat or low-fat dairy, while any leftover products were weighed each fortnight to assess the children’s overall intake.

For the first time, researchers comprehensively measured the children’s obesity, body composition, blood pressure, and blood biomarkers to monitor the effects of their dairy consumption.

Regardless of whether they were consuming whole-fat or low-fat dairy, both groups of children took in similar amounts of calories.

Although children consuming low-fat dairy took in fewer calories and fat from dairy, they naturally turned to other foods and drinks to make up for this difference.

Professor O’Sullivan said the findings showed no significant differences between the groups’ obesity or cardiovascular health.

“It had previously been thought young children would benefit from low-fat dairy products due to their lower levels of saturated fats and lower density of energy, in turn helping avoid obesity and risk of associated cardiometabolic diseases,” she said.

“Our results suggest healthy children can safely consume whole-fat dairy products without increased obesity or adverse cardiometabolic effects. With consideration of our results and previous research, future revisions of dietary guidelines should consider recommending children aged two and over can consume either whole fat or reduced-fat dairy,” she added.

Dietitian and PhD candidate on the study Analise Nicholl said that this would make life easier for parents.

“This evidence-based approach would help simplify parents’ dairy choices and allow children to consume dairy according to their individual preference,” Analise said.

Study: Talking To Kids While Watching Tv Increases Their Curiosity Levels

Increased television watching is associated with poorer development in your younger ones. However, according to a new study, talking to your kids while watching TV is a new way to counter its negative effects.

The findings of the study were published in the ‘PLOS ONE Journal’ The more parents engaged in conversation with preschoolers during shared TV time, the more likely those children were to have higher curiosity levels when they reached kindergarten, the new study suggested. This was particularly true for children with socioeconomic disadvantages.

“Our findings reinforce the importance of parent conversation to promote early childhood development and curiosity, especially for children from under-resourced families,” said lead author Prachi Shah, M.D. M.S., a developmental and behavioural paediatrician at University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

“We know that more frequent parent-child conversation is promotive of several areas of early child development, and this could be true for promoting a child’s curiosity as well,” Shah added.

Sitting in front of the TV alone or while parents are on their phones? Perhaps not so beneficial.

But watching a show, movie, or other content with parents while talking together could be associated with fostering a preschoolers’ curiosity, Shah said.

Researchers assessed hours of daily television exposure and frequency of parent screen-time conversation among 1,500 preschoolers and then measured early childhood curiosity in kindergarten.

The study specifically focused on curiosity levels, which Shah’s previous research has found is associated with enhanced learning and higher academic achievement in reading and math at kindergarten, and behavioural-developmental benefits, especially for children from families with lower socioeconomic status.

“Curiosity is an important foundation for scientific innovation, joy in learning and numerous positive outcomes in childhood. We want to better understand what fosters curiosity in early childhood, which could potentially identify ways to help mitigate the achievement gap associated with poverty,” Shah said.

“Parent-child conversation facilitates children’s thinking, learning and exploration — all behavioural indicators of curiosity,” she added.

Researchers analyzed data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort. The cohort is a nationally representative, a population-based study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education that has followed thousands of children since birth in 2001.

Curiosity was measured through parent questionnaires asking about characteristics of curiosity, such as eagerness to learn new things, a drive for novelty, openness to new experiences, imagination, and adaptability to new situations among other behaviours.

While many young children are now growing up with digital media exposure through mobile devices like tablets and phones, televisions remain a dominant screen activity, accounting for 72 per cent of all screen time. TVs are in 98 per cent of all homes, keeping television exposure a relevant developmental context in young children,” Shah said.

Children are reportedly exposed to an average of one to four hours of television per day, with higher exposure in children who are economically disadvantaged.

Excessive media exposure, including television, can displace exploratory activities such as play and parent-child interactions, which are believed to be key to cultivating curiosity in kids, Shah said.

“Our findings suggest the importance of parents finding opportunities to foster conversational exchanges in daily routines with their young children — including while watching television,” Shah added.

Matthew McConaughey: No to vaccine for Kids

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey doesn’t support a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for kids just yet.

Nearly a week after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention formally authorised Pfizer’s vaccine for use in children ages 5 to 11, McConaughey, who is fully vaccinated, explained that he isn’t anti-vaccine but wants “to find out more information” before supporting any requirements that young children get the shot. “We just said we can vaccinate kids. I want to trust in the science,” the 52-year-old actor said during The New York Times’s DealBook summit on Tuesday, reported People magazine.
The actor continued, “Do I think that there’s any kind of scam or conspiracy theory? Hell no I don’t. We all got to get off that narrative. There’s not a conspiracy theory on the vaccines.”

McConaughey and his wife Camila Alves share sons Levi, and Livingston, and daughter Vida. On Tuesday, he explained that the couple had chosen to “go slow” with vaccinating their children “even before COVID”.

McConaughey and Alves are both fully vaccinated. His 90-year-old mother Kay, who lives with the family, is also vaccinated and has received a booster shot, he said. For the time being, he said he won’t be vaccinating his young children: “Right now, I’m not vaccinating [my young children], I’ll tell you that.”

“I didn’t do it because someone told me I had to,” he said of receiving the shot himself. “I chose to do it.”
The ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ star emphasised that he and his family have taken the pandemic seriously and have relied heavily on at-home testing to keep everyone safe — and stressed that his priority is protecting his elderly mother, who is immunocompromised and has been staying with them throughout the pandemic.

He said that they’ve “quarantined harder than any of our friends have and still are two years later.”
“I’m in a position though where I can do that, and I understand not everyone can do that,” he said.

“I couldn’t mandate having to vaccinate the younger kids. I still want to find out more information,” he added.

“There’s gonna come a time, though — and there has already in these last two years, obviously — there’ll come a time where you’re gonna have to roll the dice one way or the other and go, where are the numbers in my favour? I’m vaccinated. Wife’s vaccinated. … We’re over here just trying to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible, but I couldn’t mandate it for kids just yet,” the actor further said.

Study: Poor Parents Who Receive Universal Payments Spend More On Kids

When given cash with no strings attached, low and middle-income parents increased their spending on their children, according to Washington State University research.

The study, published in the journal ‘Social Forces’, also found that the additional funding had little impact on child-related expenditures of high-income parents. For the study, WSU sociologist Mariana Amorim analyzed spending by recipients of the Alaska Permanent Fund payments. Funded by state oil revenues, the fund is the closest program in the United States to a universal basic income.

Every resident in Alaska receives a payment called a dividend; the total amount varies each year, but during the time span of this study, 1996-2015, payments averaged around USD 1,812 a person, or USD 7,248 for a four-person family, when adjusted for inflation to 2014 dollars.

Amorim found that after the lump sum payments, low- and middle-income parents made more education, clothing, recreation and electronic purchases for their children.

The findings contradict a common argument in the U.S. that poor parents cannot be trusted to receive cash to use however they want, said Amorim.

“The data suggests that lower-income parents are responsible for using cash payments, so we don’t need to be so afraid to give poor people money that can help their families,” Amorim said. “Low-income parents do need to spend a greater part of the money they received on basic necessities–for instance, to catch up on bills or to fix a broken car–but they still managed with the leftover amount to invest in their children.”

Amorim used 20 years of data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys to analyze spending by Alaskan parents around the time they received annual payouts from the fund. She compared those spending patterns to those of parents in the continental U.S. who did not get the payouts.

Although all parents seemed to increase their child-related spending some after payouts, low- and middle-income parents increased spending in categories that may matter most to their children’s future, such as education. In contrast, high-income Alaskan parents showed no big jumps in child-related expenditures after the payouts, other than a modest increase in clothing purchases.

While the data could not reveal the exact reason, Amorim said the lack of significant change in child-related spending may indicate that high-income parents had already maxed out their spending in that area or that they were saving the money for future investments.

“We know that with their normal income, high-income parents do spend a lot on their children,” said Amorim. “High-income Alaskan parents may be saving a lot of the money from payouts, and that’s why we don’t see spikes in current spending. That is something I can’t investigate with this data, but if they are saving for college or a house down payment, we may see bigger inequalities in the future.”

While the study does have policy implications, Amorim cautioned that the Alaska program is not a perfect model for universal basic income policies. The Alaskan dividend is a one-time payment that affects the way people spend their money. For instance, research suggests that spending on electronics increases when people receive a lot of money at one time because they can afford those big-ticket items.

If they were receiving a smaller amount of money every month, parents may choose to spend on items with smaller or more spread out costs, such as books or monthly lessons.

The universal nature of the one-time payments in Alaska, however, does provide key information on how lower-income parents spend their money compared to high-income parents, and how socioeconomic differences in spending decisions might affect future inequalities.

“The spending behaviours of lower-income parents suggest that they are trying to catch up, even if they can’t keep up with higher-income parents in the long term,” Amorim said.

Here’s How You Can Increase Kids’ Vegetable Intake

Parents, take note! Filling half of a child’s plate with fruits and vegetables isn’t just recommended by the United States Dietary Guidelines, it also helps increase the amount of produce that kids end up eating, according to a new Penn State research.

The findings of the study were published in the ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’. In the controlled feeding study, the researchers tested two strategies for encouraging kids to eat more fruits and vegetables.

The first was simply adding 50 per cent more to fruit and vegetable side dishes at kids’ meals throughout the day. The second was substituting 50 per cent more fruits and vegetables for an equivalent weight of the other foods. For example, if they added 50 grams of veggies to the lunch meal, they also subtracted 50 grams of mac and cheese.

The researchers found that adding more fruit and vegetable side dishes resulted in the kids eating 24 per cent more veggies and 33 per cent more fruit compared to the control menus. Substituting fruits and veggies for some of the other foods resulted in kids consuming 41 per cent more veggies and 38 per cent more fruit.

Barbara Rolls, Helen A. Guthrie Chair and director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State, said the findings suggest ways parents, caregivers and schools can help encourage healthy eating.

“When deciding what to feed kids, it’s easy to remember that half of the food should be fruits and vegetables,” Rolls said. “If you start seeing that you’re serving too much and have more waste, you could cut back the higher calorie-dense food while adding more produce. Experiment and have some fun trying different fruits and vegetables to see what they like and so you can serve meals with a sensitivity to their personal taste.”

According to a previous study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 60 per cent of children don’t eat enough fruit and 93 per cent don’t eat enough vegetables, suggesting a need for strategies to encourage kids to eat more produce.

Since 2011, the MyPlate dietary guidelines have encouraged people to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables, with the hope that this would also increase people’s intake. But the researchers said that despite being a policy for a decade, the strategy had never been systematically tested in preschool children.

“For most foods, kids will eat more when served larger portions, so we wanted to test whether increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables that are served over five days would increase intake,” said Liane Roe, a research nutritionist at Penn State. “We also wondered whether substituting produce for other foods would increase intake more than simply adding extra fruits and veggies.”

For the study, the researchers recruited 53 children between the ages of three and five who were enrolled in Pennsylvania childcare centres. Each participant was served all their meals and snacks for five days during three different periods in a random order.

For the control period, they were served meals they typically got in their childcare centre, and for the period testing the addition strategy, the portions of fruits and vegetables were increased by 50 per cent.

For the period testing the substitution strategy, fruits and vegetables were increased by 50 per cent and the other foods were reduced by an equivalent weight.

“We served the children all of their meals, snacks, and beverages for five consecutive days, and we weighed all the items we served, as well as the leftovers, to measure intake,” Roe said. “We sent home evening and morning snacks for the kids, but the majority of the meals were served in the childcare center.”

As a caution, Rolls said that even though the study was successful in getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, the majority of the kids still didn’t eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables for their age group — about a cup and a half – although they did reach this target for fruits.

The researchers said that in addition to the strategies in the current study, there are additional things parents and caregivers can do to increase intake.

“Serving fruits and vegetables as a first course or snacks when kids are hungry can boost their intake, as can incorporating them into mixed dishes,” Rolls said. “For example, you can blend some cauliflower or squash into a sauce for mac and cheese or add fruit puree into a brownie or cake mix. You don’t decrease the palatability of the dish, but the kids are eating more produce. You should also encourage them to eat the whole veggies on their own, as well as incorporating them into other foods.”

Christine Sanchez, Penn State; Alissa Smethers, Monell Chemical Senses Center; and Kathleen Keller, associate professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State, also participated in this work. The National Institutes of Health helped support this research.

Sanjay Dutt Pens Sweet Birthday Wish For His Kids Iqra & Shahraan

Star couple Sanjay Dutt and Maanayata Dutt’s twins Iqra and Shahraan have turned a year older on Thursday.

Marking the special occasion, Sanjay took to Instagram and penned a sweet wish for his kids. “Happy birthday to my precious children! May love and happiness follow you wherever you go,” he wrote.
Alongside the sweet birthday note, Sanjay posted a collage featuring images of him spending quality time with Iqra and Shahraan.

Maanayata, too, took to her Instagram account to wish her children a happy birthday.

She shared a photograph, in which the twins can be seen cutting their birthday cake.

“Keep dreaming and achieving!! Spread you wings and spread happiness…Love… laugh and live…. happy birthday @duttshahraan & @duttiqra.I love you,” she captioned the post.

Iqra and Shahraan were born in 2010. Sanjay is also a father to Trishala Dutta, whom he shares with his late first wife Richa Sharma.

Samantha Akkineni, Naga Chaitanya Planning To Have Kids?

For the past few days, a lot has been heard about the relationship status of Tollywood actors Naga Chaitanya and Samantha Akkineni. It is one of the hot and trending topics for a while now for various media houses to cook the news stories.

As per the latest reports making rounds, the celebrated couple is planning to have kids. As per an online web portal, Sam hasn’t signed any new film to start a complete family life with Naga Chaitanya, and that’s the reason she is maintaining silence and staying away from media questions. The ‘Majili’ actress isn’t shifting her base to anywhere other than Hyderabad, as she reportedly revealed in her recent Instagram interaction with her followers.

It is a known fact that Samantha and Naga Chaitanya avoided questions about their personal life over various movements of them both online and offline. To note, Sam has shed her surname, and she didn’t wish her husband Naga Chaitanya post the release of ‘Love Story’ and its success.

Samantha will be next seen in ‘Shaakuntalam’ in which she essays the titular role. Touted to be a mythological drama, the film is directed by Guna Sekhar. She also has a Tamil film titled ‘Kaathu Vaakula Rendu Kaadhal’, which is currently filming in the outskirts of Chennai.

R. Kelly’s Ex-Wife Opens Up About Singer’s Sex Trafficking Trial, Its Impact On Their Kids

Singer-songwriter R. Kelly’s ex-wife Drea Kelly recently spoke out against him and opened up about the impact that his crimes will have on their three children.

The 54-year-old singer was found guilty on all nine counts in his sex trafficking case on Monday. The singer was found guilty of leading a decades-long scheme to recruit women and underage girls for sex in New York, reported Fox News. The jury, consisting of seven men and five women, convicted Kelly of racketeering and eight violations of an anti-sex trafficking law after nine hours of deliberations in federal court in Brooklyn.

Kelly’s ex-wife Drea recently appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss what the guilty verdict means for her, her children and her fellow victims.

“I sit in a very difficult place because unlike the rest of his victims, I share children with him. I was married to him,” she began.

The estranged couple was married from 1996 until 2009. In that time, Drea alleged that Kelly abused her sexually and mentally, creating an environment in which she felt she needed to “walk on eggshells” around the star for fear he would get upset and therefore subject her to more abuse.

Despite the fact that he continues to deny any allegations, the guilty verdict marks a massive win for the singer’s accusers. While that includes Drea, she noted that she is in a unique spot given the family ties she has with him.

“So, I wear two hats. I wear the hat of a survivor and an advocate, but I also wear the hat of a mother and an ex-wife,” she explained.

“So, it’s very difficult for me. I feel that my heart is in two places. My heart definitely goes out to the survivors and the courage it takes to even come forward and tell their story,” Drea said.

She added, “But my heart also breaks as a mother because this is now the legacy that my children will have to deal with and their children’s children at the end of the day. You cannot walk away from your bloodline. I have the ability to separate and kind of distance myself from it, but his blood runs through my children’s veins. It’s a part of their DNA. They can’t escape it even if they wanted to, so it’s very difficult for me to sit in that position.”

Given her 13-year marriage to Kelly and the fact that some of the victim’s complaints go back for decades, Drea was asked if the justice she and the other women are experiencing right now was too long in the making.

“If any of his victims were blonde-haired and blue-eyed, it wouldn’t have taken this long,” she alleged.
“Women of colour tend to be lowest on the totem pole when it comes to subjects of domestic violence and sexual abuse. So, it’s really sad that it took this long, but I guess we’re making some movements forward,” Drea added.

The disgraced singer faces the possibility of decades in prison. Kelly’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 4, 2022.

The verdict followed a trial that began on August 18 and included 50 witnesses. In the trial, Kelly faced federal counts of human trafficking, racketeering, child pornography, kidnapping and forced labour.
In January 2019, Lifetime released the docuseries titled ‘Surviving R. Kelly’, which brought renewed attention to the allegations against the singer and prompted calls for an official investigation.

Facebook halts plans for ‘Instagram Kids’ app after criticism

Washington [US]: Facebook is pausing the development of Instagram Kids, a version of the photo-sharing application for children under 13.
Instagram chief Adam Mosseri announced the news in a blog post, saying that the Facebook-owned company would continue to work on parental-supervised experiences for younger users, reported The Verge. In the blog post and series of accompanying tweets, Mosseri blamed the critics for misunderstanding the purpose of the app.
“It was never meant for younger kids, but for tweens (aged 10-12),” he wrote.
In a separate tweet, he added that news of the project “leaked way before we knew what it would be. People feared the worst, and we had few answers at that stage. It’s clear we need to take more time on this.”
Pausing work on the app comes after a leading publication posted a series of damning reports into Facebook last week.
These included a story revealing how Instagram’s own internal research suggested that the app made body issues worse for teenage girls. Facebook said these reports mischaracterised the company’s studies, but it has so far refused to release its data firsthand for critics and supporters alike to analyse.
The development of a version of Instagram aimed at younger users was widely criticised by a number of groups.
Facebook responded to this criticism by saying young people were already active online and it was better that their experience be supervised. The company also said it wouldn’t show advertising on the new app. However, critics were not convinced.
Mosseri noted on Twitter that critics will see Instagram pausing development of the kids app “as a concession that the project is a bad idea.”
He added, “I have to believe parents would prefer the option for their children to use an age-appropriate version of Instagram – that gives them oversight – than the alternative. But I’m not here to downplay their concerns, we have to get this right.”

As per Variety, critics included more than 40 state attorneys general who urged Facebook to kill the project, raising red flags including research showing social media can be harmful to the emotional and mental well-being of children.

Shilpa Shetty Seeks Monday Motivation From Her Kids To Stay Fit And Healthy

Amid the ongoing porn racket controversy surrounding her husband and businessman Raj Kundra, actor Shilpa Shetty has been vocal on social media about practising yoga for mental peace. The actor has also shared this wisdom with her little children.

Taking to her Instagram handle on Monday, the actor shared a super cute video in which her son Viaan can be seen teaching yoga to her daughter Samisha. “Kids are like wet clay. We must mould their approach towards a healthier lifestyle early. Inculcating the habit of enjoying a balanced diet, staying fit, and gaining control over the mind & soul is crucial. That’s exactly what I’ve tried to do with Viaan; and now, to see him take over the role and teaching his little follower, Samisha, makes me so proud,” she captioned.

Shilpa further called the sight of her children bonding over exercise as her “Monday Motivation”.
“Seeing them bond over Yoga is truly the kind of Monday Motivation I need to stay fit and healthy… with them and for them. Have a great week ahead, my #InstaFam,” she added.

A few days ago, businessman Raj Kundra along with his associate Ryan Thorpe walked out from the Arthur Road jail, a day after getting bail by a Mumbai Court in a pornography case.

The Property Cell of Mumbai Crime Branch had submitted a 1500-page supplementary charge sheet before Esplanade Court in connection with the pornography case against businessman Kundra.
Raj was arrested by police on July 19 along with 11 other people on charges related to the alleged creation of pornographic films.

Meanwhile, on the work front, after taking a brief hiatus following her husband’s arrest, Shilpa is once again busy judging the dance reality show ‘Super Dancer 4’, alongside Geeta Kapur and Anurag Basu.
On the film front, she was recently seen in Priyadarshan’s ‘Hungama 2’.

Cuba begins mass vaccination of kids as young as 2 against COVID-19

Havana [Cuba]: Cuba has become the first country in the world to begin the mass vaccination of kids as young as age 2 against COVID-19 with its homegrown vaccines.
While the coronavirus vaccines aren’t mandatory, parents and children have been filling clinics, hospitals and even converted schools to get the shot for their kids, reported CNN. “I am relieved,” Laura Tijeras said just minutes after her 4-year-old daughter Anisol got the first dose of Cuba’s home-grown Soberana, or Sovereign, vaccine. “A lot of people are still getting sick and with the vaccine. We are more protected.”
During a single day at a policlinico in Havana, where CNN and other media were invited to film the vaccinations, more than 230 children ages 3 to 5 were vaccinated, the clinic’s administrator said.
To put kids at ease, doctors and nurses wore Mickey Mouse ears above their uniforms and brought in a clown with a speaker system to perform for them at full volume.
Like adults receiving vaccinations, children in Cuba will require three shots before they are considered fully vaccinated.
With the arrival of the Delta variant in Cuba, cases among children have skyrocketed, reported CNN.
“It’s alarming the numbers of infections of the new coronavirus that have occurred in Cuba in the last few months in the pediatric population,” wrote Cuban Health Minister Jose Portal Miranda in an article on the government Cubadebate website in September.
So far during the pandemic at least 117,500 minors have been diagnosed with COVID in Cuba, according to official statistics.
The government has not said how many children have died in Cuba during the pandemic. But since the beginning of August, 10 minors, children and infants have been listed as having died in daily press briefings given by the Health Ministry, reported CNN.
In September officials said they would begin vaccinating children as part of a plan to have more than 90 per cent of the island immunized and reopen international borders by mid-November. Officials said it is unlikely that they could restart schools before then.
“It’s not a condition in order to attend our educational institutions when classes renew to be vaccinated,” said Vice Minister of Education Eugenio Gonzalez Perez on the Mesa Redonda TV program.
Cuba’s drug regulator so far has given approval for emergency usage of three home-grown vaccines that Cuban scientists say are highly effective at preventing serious illness and death as a result of the coronavirus.
While critics have complained of the Cuban government’s excessive secrecy concerning their program, last week Cuban scientists said they had begun to share data with the World Health Organization to receive approval for their vaccines, reported CNN.

Shilpa Shetty Kundra Bids Farewell To Lord Ganesha With Her Kids

Actor Shilpa Shetty Kundra, on Saturday night bid adieu to Lord Ganesha with her son Vihaan and daughter Samisha.

Shilpa took to her Instagram handle and shared a video glimpse of the Ganpati Visarjan celebrations that took place at her home on Saturday. Sharing the video, she wrote, “With a heavy heart, we bid farewell to our dearest GANNU RAJA and we will eagerly await his arrival next year! Pudhachya varsi lavakara ya (Come early next year).”

In the video, the actor was seen donning an exquisite floral-patterned off-white sharara suit accessorized with matching boho jewellery.

According to the ‘Dhadkan’ actor, this is the eleventh year the family is celebrating the auspicious occasion with Lord Ganesha’s idol at home.

Shilpa had kick-started Ganesh Chaturthi with full enthusiasm, on Friday. She also shared a few pictures from the celebrations on her Instagram handle.

The 46-year-old diva is celebrating this year’s Ganesh Chaturthi without her husband Raj Kundra as he is currently in jail in the porn video racket case.

Meanwhile, on the work front, Shilpa is busy judging the reality show ‘Super Dancer 4’, alongside Geeta Kapur and Anurag Basu.

How Parents Can Be ‘Emotion Coaches’ As Kids Go To School During Covid-19

Parents should take time to talk with their children before school starts amid Covid-19. For an anxious child, this might be five minutes of validation and support each day. For another child, checking in occasionally may be enough. Here are some tips for ’emotion coaching’

As children head back to school, families are once again facing a September of uncertainty. This worry is compounded by depressive and anxiety symptoms in children and adolescents that have doubled in the past 18 months.

Our team has been studying the mental health of children and families since the start of the pandemic to develop strategies that support those who are struggling. Getting kids back in the classroom is an important step. However, we must not forget the well-being of families, as children are most successful when they are jointly supported in both the classroom and at home.

Noticing, validating and managing emotions is an important part of family health and wellness. Emotion coaching is a simple strategy parents can use with their children and loved ones.

How the pandemic got in the way

Our family science research group in southern Ontario has recently published three studies highlighting how the pandemic has interrupted relationships and mental health in children and families. Findings were based on an international sample of 549 families and 1,098 children.

We found that pandemic stress falls into one of three categories: economic stress (things like job loss, debt problems), relational stress (showing up, for instance, as more hostility or withdrawal between family members) and pandemic-specific stress (seen in things like being overwhelmed by the news cycle). In other words, many parents are simply too stressed to provide emotionally supportive responses during parenting exchanges. That said, not all families have been affected equally.

Among the parents we studied, we found that women with a history of early life adversity were the most vulnerable to mental health problems. But men with a history of early life adversity were still at greater risk for mental health problems than men without such early adversity.

Parents experiencing mental health challenges creates a ripple effect across the entire family unit. It predicts higher mental health problems in children, psychological distress in parents and parenting challenges.

Even within the same family, one sibling may be struggling more. In a sibling comparison study, forthcoming in the peer-reviewed journal Developmental Psychology, caregivers reported having more parenting challenges over time with the child who had higher levels of anxiety, depression and anger at the start of the pandemic.

This is an important and unique finding since it describes how Covid-19 stress “gets inside the family,” highlighting and widening differences between siblings. This creates an added challenge for parents.

What is emotion coaching?

Emotion coaching is a pattern of communication that emerged from the work of psychologist John Gottman, and has since become embedded in many types of therapy.

That said, it’s not complicated and anyone can do it.

In its simplest form, emotion coaching is a two-step process that parents can use when their child is distressed.

1. Parents first validate the emotion. This requires that they identify the emotion by saying something like: “I understand you might be feeling worried …” and then by explaining the emotion: “… because it’s almost September, because you are worried about what back to school will look like and because you have been home for so long.”

This conveys to a child that their feelings make sense, that they are not wrong or bad for feeling the way they do, and that their parent understands them. To remember this step, parents can remind themselves that you’ve got to feel it to heal it.

2. After validating the emotion, parents provide support. This may be emotional support that is comforting, reassuring and hopeful. It could also be a sign of togetherness, in saying something like: “I will be here with you every step of the way this fall.”

Next, practical support can take the form of distraction, redirection, problem-solving or encouragement. If a child is focused on the uncertainty of September, parents may suggest doing a fun activity together. If an adolescent is refusing school, parents could provide encouragement or set limits and reinforce expectations.

The important thing is the order of emotion coaching steps — first a parent helps their child to feel the emotion (validation), and then the parent helps their child to feel better (support).

Not only will emotion coaching help calm the emotional storm in the moment, but it will also teach children how to manage their own emotions in the future.

Parents’ own emotions

Children transitioning back to school will likely require additional support. Emotion coaching is not complicated, but it can be very difficult for parents to respond with patience and empathy when at their wits end.

Parents can manage their own emotions by seeking professional support by going into therapy, accessing online mental health materials or taking care of their mental health with activities like exercise, healthy eating and sleep routines.

We also recommend that parents take time to talk with their children before school starts. For an anxious child, this might be five minutes of validation and support each day. For another child, checking in occasionally may be enough.

To quote a shorthand version of Mr. Rogers’s philosophy, “If it’s mentionable, it’s manageable.” There will undoubtedly be a lot to mention this fall.

Study: Exercise Can Boost Kids’ Vocabulary Growth

A new study by University of Delaware researchers suggested that exercise can boost kids’ vocabulary growth.

The study, published in the ‘Journal of Speech-Language and Hearing Research, detailed one of the first studies on the effect of exercise on vocabulary learning in children. Children ages 6 to 12 were taught new words before doing one of three things — swimming, taking part in CrossFit exercises or completing a coloring sheet. The children who swam were 13 percent more accurate in follow-up tests of the vocabulary words.

It makes sense to the lead researcher, Maddy Pruitt, herself a former college swimmer who now regularly takes CrossFit classes.

“Motor movement helps in encoding new words,” she said, explaining that exercise is known to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein Pruitt describes as the “Miracle-Gro of the brain.”
Why then, did swimming make a difference while CrossFit did not? Pruitt attributed it to the amount of energy each exercise demands of the brain. Swimming is an activity the kids could complete without much thought or instruction. It was more automatic, while the CrossFit exercises were new to them. The children needed to learn the moves, which required mental energy.

Pruitt conducted the research as part of her Master’s Capstone Project and graduated in 2020. She now works as a speech-language pathologist at an elementary school in South Carolina, where she puts her findings into practice.

“My sessions are very rarely at a table,” she said. “I’ll take my kids out to the playground or we’ll take a walk around the school.”

Pruitt’s adviser and coauthor Giovanna Morini is building on the findings in her lab. Morini, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, said most research into exercise examines it from the angle of a healthy lifestyle, not much enters the domain of language acquisition. She said she sees this as a rich line of inquiry and has another student running a similar experiment now with toddlers.

“We were so excited about this study because it applies to clinicians, caregivers and educators who can put it into practice,” Morini said.

“It’s simple stuff, nothing out of the ordinary. But it could really help boost the outcomes,” Morini concluded.

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