Articles on Child development

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Talk to me, Dad. Father and son via sashahaltam/Shutterstock

Talking to your babies could help them do better at school

The rate at which children learn language varies substantially from child to child. Some children show rapid vocabulary growth before they go to school, while others learn so slowly that they can end up…
Not more RAM, working memory is what you need. Mother and Daughter, Kyle Lee/Shutterstock

Children’s cognitive abilities linked to parental education

Cognitive difficulties are very common in children from impoverished backgrounds, putting them at risk of educational failure. However, it is not clear what influences the development of cognitive abilities…
Sluggish cognitive tempo is used to describe kids whose attentional deficits are due to low levels of mental energy. Alec Couros/Flickr

Is ‘sluggish cognitive tempo’ a valid new childhood disorder?

Sociology influences medicine more than we like to admit. One only needs to look at the history of psychiatric disorders – a term used broadly here to incorporate developmental disorders – to see how “normal…
Sometimes vegetables end up everywhere except where they’d do most good. Evan Long/Flickr

Health Check: why kids don’t like vegies and how to change it

So little Harry won’t eat his vegetables? Well, he’s not alone. Poor Harry is just protecting himself from the danger of alkaloid toxins – although he doesn’t actually know this. At the tender age of four…
Mothers with genetic mutations not harmful to females may be passing them onto their sons. Vincent van der Pas/Flickr (resized)

Mothers’ genes may be why autism is more common in boys

Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism, because girls need more extreme genetic…
Too many two-year-olds. Edmond Terakopian/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Very few schools are ready to take two-year-olds into class

Proposals to allow schools to start looking after two-year-olds go to the heart of a long-standing tension in education policy: is early childhood provision about childcare for working parents or is it…
Hands up who wants to breastfeed at work? Christian Lutz/AP

Women at work should be able to breastfeed and succeed

Days after Pope Francis told mothers to “not think twice” about breastfeeding at church and in public, Sally Davies, the UK’s chief medical officer, called for women to be allowed to breastfeed at work…
Orphan bonobos at a Congo sanctuary don’t understand how to comfort others or themselves as well as those reared by their mums. Flickr/Princess Stand in the Rain

For primates, having a mother helps them learn social skills

Wild bonobos, like all Great Apes, spend long childhoods with their mothers, learning the skills they need to function as socially and emotionally stable members of their community. But orphaned bonobos…
Children are the most vulnerable and dependent members of our society but it’s still legal to hit them in Australia. bixentro/Flickr

Let’s talk about making smacking children illegal

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) is today launching a call for law reform regarding the use of physical punishment to discipline children. Noting the harms of smacking children, it’s…
Pregnant and breast-feeding women have iodine needs that are 50% higher than the general population. Teza Harinaivo Ramiandrisoa

Lack of dietary iodine threatens brain development in children

Iodine is naturally present in a range of food, especially seaweed and fish. So it may seem odd that the people of an island nation (most of whom live along its vast coastline) are not getting enough of…
Research has shown benefits to mothers and babies when fathers are involved. Pixabay

Some pregnant women missing benefits from involved dads

We all have different expectations about how involved dads should be during pregnancy and childbirth. In the UK, it’s generally seen as a good thing and research is now beginning to show that it matters…
When humans are challenged, even as very young babies, we really can rise above and excel. Drew Bennett

Deprivation, autism and disability shine a light on development

What do newborn babies, children who have been severely deprived of human contact, people with autism, and blind mothers have in common? On the surface, not much. But they provide a common theme for understanding…

Moving tougher on poor children

Children who move frequently while young are more likely to have behavioural problems - but only if they’re from low income…
We often preface words like slap and smack with “just a little” to make it sound more socially acceptable. paulscott

Time for an end to parental tough love

Picture this: you’re standing in a long, slow-moving queue. People around you are disgruntled and complaining. You turn to talk with the person behind you and someone else jumps the queue in front of you…
Whether children imitate a bear or a pirate, their imagination could contribute to human advancement. Juhansonin

Imitation and imagination: child’s play is central to human success

We all know the scene: a child, wrapped in his or her own imaginary world, fights off aliens while flying through space on a rocket fashioned from an empty box. But could such flights of fancy be critical…

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