Savvy or Not So Savvy? Milk Madness & More


A daycare owner drugging kids’ milk? Toddlers found unattended in a Markham, Ontario drug store? SpongeBob being blamed for attention disorders in children?
There is a lot of scary (and not so savvy) stuff being reported in the news these days. I almost hate to write about it because I don’t want parents to worry more than they already do (as if I can stop them).

But this is terrible. I read on recently about a daycare owner in Texas who has been accused of drugging kids’ milk with over-the-counter antihistamines and then giving it to children to help them sleep. The children ‘possibly’ drugged were reportedly between the ages of 20 months and 4 years-old. The owner faces 16 felony counts of endangerment to a child and is currently in jail. She could serve a maximum of two years in prison and fines up to $10,000 for each count.

In more local news, an award winning day care facility in Markham, Ontario has been shut down after three toddlers walked off the property, crossed a busy street and were found in a drug store nearby. In an article from the Toronto Star, we learned that the toddlers were ranging in age from 18 to 24 months (still in diapers), and that there were five other children who also escaped from the playground through an open gate. Those five were found before they got too far. The three kids who escaped to the drug store were missing for an estimated 12 minutes. A lot can happen in 12 minutes.

But don’t think that keeping your kids at home is the safest answer. If you’re letting them watch TV, beware. A recent study reveals that shows like SpongeBob can cause behavioural problems in kids. The study’s lead author, University of Virginia psychology professor Angeline Lillard, suggests that young children are compromised in their ability to learn and use self-control immediately after watching fast-paced shows. Her first explanation is that the fast pacing (with frequent scene changes and characters that are constantly in motion), and the fantasy aspect of the shows (with characters doing things that make no sense in the real world), may disrupt young children’s ability to concentrate immediately afterward. It’s also possible that kids are unconsciously adopting the characteristics of the unfocused and frenetic characters.

She doesn’t entirely blame our friend SpongeBob, however. There are other fast-paced cartoons children watch that can have the same effect.

I have witnessed firsthand the effect that television can have on my own children. Don’t let them watch it in the morning or before going to school. Keep viewing time in moderation and trust your instincts.

Are your kids affected by the shows they watch?


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