How to Teach a Kid to Swim Freestyle

Fatherly – Cathleen Pruden

Freestyle is the first swimming stroke your kids should learn, but it’s not necessarily the easiest to teach. Also known as the “front crawl,” freestyle often resembles a “doggy paddle” initially as kids struggle to execute the stroke’s three components ⏤ arms, legs, and breathing ⏤ at the same time. Technically, it’s the most efficient swimming stroke ⏤ or at least it will be ⏤ but it definitely won’t look that way in the beginning. (more)

Food for thought: How the brain reacts to food may be linked to overeating

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

The reason why some people find it so hard to resist finishing an entire bag of chips or bowl of candy may lie with how their brain responds to food rewards, leaving them more vulnerable to overeating. In a study with children, researchers found that when certain regions of the brain reacted more strongly to being rewarded with food than being rewarded with money, those children were more likely to overeat, even when the child wasn’t hungry and regardless of if they were overweight or not. (more)

Digital media use linked to behavioral problems in kids

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

Are children who spend lots of time using digital devices prone to psychiatric problems? A team of USC scientists says yes in a new study that appears today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Teens who are heavy users of digital devices are twice as likely as infrequent users to show symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the study finds. The association is persistent as researchers tracked nearly 2,600 teenagers for two years. (more)

Schools alone cannot solve childhood obesity crisis, Ofsted warns

The Guardian – Nadia Khomami and agency

Schools cannot provide a “silver bullet” to tackle childhood obesity and should not be expected to solve society’s wider problems, the chief inspector of Ofsted has warned. Amanda Spielman said teachers were already stretched and should not be distracted from their primary role as educators. She said that while schools could help encourage healthy lifestyles and exercise as part of the curriculum, they could not address all aspects of the obesity problem. (more)

Helping your child succeed: Getting enough sleep is key to academic success

Marianna Variety – Elizabeth Hamilton, M.Ed, MA

Getting an adequate amount of nighttime sleep is just as important as healthy eating and exercise for children’s development. Children who do not get enough sleep exhibit difficulties with attention, are easily frustrated and have difficulty controlling their emotions. According to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, children and teenagers need at least nine hours of sleep each night on a regular basis for their health and safety, and best performance in school and other activities. (more)

Stress in childhood can lead to diseases in adulthood

AAP – Trisha Korioth

Have you ever wondered why one child can grow up in hard times and become successful while another child struggles throughout life? How a child handles extreme or repeated stressors depends on his genetics and the world around him, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). (more)

Writing Prescriptions to Play Outdoors

The New York Times – Perri Klass, M.D.

In his 2005 book, “Last Child in the Woods,” Richard Louv wrote about what he called nature-deficit disorder, and cited about 60 scientific studies looking at the benefits of nature and the problems that can come from being too isolated from the natural world. Today, Mr. Louv said, there are more than 700 studies (abstracts can be found on the website of the Children and Nature Network, of which Mr. Louv is the co-founder). (more)

Children who don’t learn to cycle miss out on so much – as I know too well

The Guardian – Nazia Parveen

I would sit on our front doorstep watching in awe as my brother did wheelies on his BMX, whizzing up and down our cul-de-sac with his friends – with me looking on enviously, but never asking to have a go. It was just not the done thing. Growing up in a Pakistani household in inner-city Birmingham I had never seen any of my female peers cycling. It’s not something that I discussed with my parents; they weren’t against it, but they never encouraged it either. It was ingrained that perching atop a saddle in a salwaar kameez (traditional Pakistani dress) was un-ladylike. So I never learned. (more)

#BackToSchool: Brain food to help your child study during exam time

The Newcastle Advertiser – Zianne Leibrandt

To get you in the mood and to stop prolonging the agony of the books sucking life out of your entire being, we have come up with a list of fun snacks to help improve your brainpower.These quick ideas can easily be made in those many hours spent gaping, at that too long chapter, in the way too long textbook. (more)

The big problem with our over-sugared children in America

Philly Voice – Katie Gagnon

Children in the U.S. consume nearly 20 teaspoons of sugar every day – three times more than recommended – which negatively impacts their health immediately and for the rest of their lives. The short-term consequences of too much sugar in a child’s diet are cold-like symptoms like chronic runny noses, coughing and excessive mucus, croup-like coughing, acid reflux-like symptoms, cavities, a weakened immune system and stomach aches. (more)