As kids head back to school, many parents may be wondering what they can do to boost their children's academic achievement. Findings recently published in the Journal of Family Psychology suggest that limiting screen time, increasing family time, and choosing parenting styles that rely on positive reinforcement are among the things that can help children perform better in school.
For The Learning Habit Study, the largest study of its kind, more than 21,000 parents across the country completed a 108-question survey about their children and family life. Among the findings: three family activities - eating regular dinners, attending religious services, and playing board games - were "significantly related to reduced screen time among children, higher GPA, and fewer emotional problems; " parenting styles involving disciplining children when they misbehave or underperform were associated with a negative impact on children's academic success, sleep and focus; and students' sleep quality and grades start to decline after just 45 minutes of screen time.
From a recent WebMD story:
The good news for parents is they can easily make positive changes at home, says Robert Pressman, PhD. He's the director of research at the New England Center for Pediatric Psychology and the study’s lead author.
Have regular family dinners, for example. They tend to happen at expected times and include conversation and information sharing. Parents can also shift their own habits and parenting styles in response to the study’s findings.
“These are all things that parents can do to make a difference,” Pressman says. “I think it’s going to change everything in terms of how we are going to interact with patients,” he adds. “We have hard data now that we didn’t have before. As a clinician, I know that I will have a greater impact.”
Previously: With school bells ringing, parents should ensure their children are doing enough sleeping, Study: Too much TV, computer could hurt kids’ mental health, Does TV watching, or prolonged sitting, contribute to child obesity rates? and Paper explores effects of electronic media on kids’ health
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