Quieter Homes Make for Less Stressed Kids

Theodore Wachs, a Purdue University professor of psychological sciences has studied the way environment affects childhood development. Wachs states, "Kids who come from highly noisy or chaotic homes experience less cognitive growth, delayed language skills, have trouble mastering their environments and have increased anxiety."

"The effects vary with the temperament and sex of the child," Wachs comments. Boys who are "intense, fussy or negative" seem to have the most problem dealing with a chaotic home life.

Wachs offers these suggestions for helping to reduce the noise level in your home:

• Turn off the TV. "If it's only on for background noise, that's a major source of distraction."

• Everyone in the family needs to establish a quiet place where they can get some time alone. "Even if it's a closet, at least they have some space to themselves."

• Keep to a regular schedule. Children do best when they can anticipate when things will happen.

• Children need to learn that everything has its proper place. Leave out a few toys and put the rest away, rotating as your child tires of playing with them.

Heavy TV Viewing Linked with Psychological Trauma

In a study of 2,244 children in third through eighth grade, researchers found that watching TV over 6 hours a day was associated with significantly elevated levels of psychological trauma. Nearly one-fourth of the boys and one-fifth of the girls in this study watched TV for more than six hours a day.

 

Researchers found a strong correlation between types of TV programs watched, and levels of anger and aggression. "Both boys and girls who preferred shows with lots of action and fighting - the high-violence programs -- had significantly higher anger scores compared to other students…They also reported more aggression towards others."

Parental monitoring also had a strong influence on TV viewing habits. Children not closely monitored were found to watch significantly more TV.

Singer says, "Television is a great way to numb out, to escape. Kids who have pre-existing depression or anxiety can literally numb themselves and make problems go away temporarily by watching large amounts of television ... When you watch hours and hours of television, it doesn't lift your depression ... It makes it even worse."

Source: Doctor's Guide to the Internet

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