Can what time a child goes to bed affect how they get on at school was one of the topics under discussion in the first of BBC Radio 4’s Bringing up Britain series, which this week considered whether and how it is possible to boost a child’s IQ. The programme featured research by Child of Our Time Editor, Professor Yvonne Kelly into whether the time a child goes to bed has any influence on their reading and maths ability and spatial awareness.
Presenter Mariella Frostrup and a panel of experts discussed a range of research and views about the role of parenting on intelligence – from the effect of exercise and diet to the difference can breastfeeding, flashcards, violin lessons and superfoods really make.
When it came to looking at the effect of bedtimes, the programme interviewed Professor Kelly, who talked them through findings from her recent work looking at the effects of regular and irregular bedtimes and some 10,000 children in the Millennium Cohort Study.
Speaking on the programme, she explained that that children with irregular bedtimes did not do so well as their counterparts with more regular bedtimes and that the difference was “not trivial”, equating to a difference of around 2-3 IQ points.
The research has also looked at the effects of irregular bedtimes on children’s behaviour as well as how well they are getting on.
If you are interested in finding out more about how the bedtimes research was carried out, you can listen to Yvonne Kelly in one of our Child of our Time Research Talks here on the blog.
Do more involved dads have more contact with their child in the event of a separation? And does a mother’s confidence in her ability as a parent take a knock on separation? Researchers Professor Lucinda Platt from the London School of Economics and Political Science and Dr Tina Haux from the University of Kent have been investigating these questions, using the Millennium Cohort Study, in a Nuffield Foundation funded research project looking at parenting before and after separation.
How well our kids are doing is important to us all. The better they are doing early on in life, the better they’re likely to be doing further down the line as they grow into teenagers and adults. The earlier we can get to grips with any disadvantages or inequalities faced by individuals and groups of people, the sooner we can do something about it. In this research, a team from the ESRC International Centre for Lifecourse Studies has been looking at young children’s verbal abilities to see if there are any differences between different ethnic groups in how they are getting on with talking.
Mums-to-be are frequently advised in baby books that feeding to a schedule is best for their child. But what does the evidence tell us when it comes to the different approaches and what might that mean for parents, practitioners and policy makers?
Dr Maria Iacovou from the University of Cambridge presents recent evidence breastfeeding research at an ESRC Centre for Lifecourse Studies Policy Seminar.