These Three Habits Heavily Influence Your Child's Brain Development

01 October, 2018, 16:11 | Author: Kara Nash
  • Too much screentime daily may damage kid's brain function

The cross-sectional observational study examined the habits and abilities of 4,524 US children in that age range. If you want your kids to do well in life, limit their screen time to less than two hours, encourage them to do physical activities and to have sufficient sleep, suggests new research. For kids aged 8 to 11 years, the guidelines recommend at least 60 minutes of physical activity, no more than two hours of recreational screen time, and nine to 11 hours of nighttime sleep per day.

In addition, children also completed a cognition test, which assessed language abilities, episodic memory, executive function, attention, working memory and processing speed.

Improvements in cognition were associated with each additional recommendation met, with limited screen time and sleep having the strongest correlation to improvement.

"These findings highlight the importance of limiting recreational screen time and encouraging healthy sleep to improve cognition in children", the study's authors wrote.

Researchers in Canada made a decision to look further into the impact of screen time on cognition in over 4,500 children aged between eight and 11 years.

The children were then tested across six kinds of cognitive skills, adjusting the results based on household income or other factors that might affect their performances.


The findings showed that almost 30 percent of the children involved in the study didn't meet any of the recommended guidelines, just over 40 percent met one, 25 percent met two, and five percent met all three.

Cognitive ability improved for kids with each additional recommendation they met.

The researchers compared the results with national guidelines for children's health.

Although there is substantial evidence for the association between physical activity and cognitive development, in this study meeting the physical activity recommendation alone showed no association with cognition. The researchers said that they were surprised with this finding, but they suggested that the measure used may not have been specific enough.

The researchers did note that the findings from the study do come with some limitations, in part due to the observational nature of the study. More research into the links between screen time and cognition is now needed, including studying the effect of different types of screen time, whether content is educational or entertainment, and whether it requires focus or involves multitasking. And children who didn't meet these guidelines also performed worse on average. "In the case of evening screen use, this displacement may also be compounded by impairment of sleep quality", Dr Eduardo Esteban Bustamante, from the University of Illinois, USA, told the Daily Mail.

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