Watch Out, Baby!

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I both work and we have our 2-year old daughter in a lovely home daycare. We really like the provider—she makes organic food for all the kids she takes care of, and does a lot of fun activities with them. But we recently found out that she also has the kids in front of the TV or playing video games for several hours every day. It’s so hard to find good-quality, affordable childcare these days, plus our baby really loves her caregiver. How bad is it for toddlers to watch a little TV?

A: Unfortunately, the whole issue of babies and TV is far from being black and white. The official position of the American Academy of Pediatrics is that kids under two should have as close to zero time in front of screens as possible, and kids older than two should limit screen entertainment to an hour or two per day (not including time on computers that are being used for homework, of course). The point is that children should spend a lot more of their time interacting with other people than with electronics.

In an ideal world—where most of us don’t happen to live—that’s definitely the right approach. But we all have situations that call for a little rule bending, and an hour of TV while you’re taking a shower or making a phone call probably won’t cause any long-term damage. And neither will the parental magic trick most of us perform when trying to tame loud or restless kids: pulling out the tablet or smartphone and putting it gently into those little hands.
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Secret Life of Sleep + More Than Baby Blues

Kat Duff, author of The Secret Life of Sleep
Topic:
What happens between the time you fall asleep and the time when you wake up?
Issues: What is sleep? Stages of sleep; commercialization of sleep; dreams; babies and sleep; insomnia;


Valerie Davis Raskin, coauthor of This Isn’t What I Expected
Topic:
Overcoming postpartum depression
Issues: Symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD) and how it’s different than “baby blues”; dealing with panic attacks, stress overload, and obsessive urges; breaking the cycle of negative thinking; coping with the loss of self-esteem, when to get help; the dad’s role in support a new mom suffering from PPD

Money and manliness put sleepy guys to work | Futurity

Money and manliness put sleepy guys to work | Futurity.

Coffee with Sam: The Truth about Nightmares

Dr. Tom Jackson is a psychiatrist who has specialized in the treatment of sleep disorders and anxiety for the past thirty years. I recently had the chance to have a virtual cup of coffee with Dr. Tom Jackson, who I think is best described as a jack-of-many trades. A trained psychiatrist, he has some interesting […]

Sleep Deprivation and Its Effect on Bad Behavior

sleep deprivation affects behavior, food choices, and more

Dear Mr. Dad: In one of your recent columns you talked about how sleep deprivation can affect women’s fertility. During the summer, my kids get plenty of sleep, but during the school year they’re almost always tired. What are the effects of sleep deprivation on children?

A: There’s no question that sleep deprivation is bad for adults. Besides affecting fertility, is also increases the risk of depression, anxiety, diabetes, cardiac problem, and car accidents (about 100,000/year are caused by drowsy drivers), and decreases our ability to fight off infection. The effects on children are just as bad. Two new studies underscore just how important sleep is by showing how the lack of it influences children’s behavior and food choices.
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The Long Road from Graveyard Shift to Cradle

sleep deprived

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I have been trying to have a baby for the past year. Both of us have been thoroughly checked out and neither of us has any physical conditions that could be causing problems. The doctor says it’s “unexplained infertility,” which isn’t helpful at all. My wife usually works late afternoons or night shifts (she’s a nurse) and is always tired. Could that be contributing to our difficulty conceiving?
A: “Unexplained infertility” has to be one of the most frustrating things a couple can hear. All it means is that even after spending thousands on diagnoses and fertility treatments, you’re not any closer to having a baby than you were before. But in your case, your wife’s work schedule may provide a clue.
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