WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up once you've had a response. 2. Keep your question brief 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. See full guidelines here.

Live webchat with Professor Robert Winston, all about baby and child development, Wednesday 19 December, 1pm

(139 Posts)
AlexMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 18-Dec-12 10:03:20

We're very happy that Professor Robert Winston will be joining us on Wednesday afternoon at 1pm for a live webchat!

Professor Winston is one of the founders of IVF and presenter of a number of BBC documentaries including 'Child of our time', Super Human and the award winning 'Human Body'. Professor Robert Winston will be talking to us about brain development and how you can help your baby in their first few years.

His latest venture is advising and presenting 'The Essential Baby Care Guide'. This set of four DVDs features leading experts research including that from the Royal College of Paediatrics, UNICEF UK, St Johns Ambulance, The National Literacy Trust, the Meningitis Research Foundation and the Child Accident Prevention Trust.

The complete guide costs just £35, whilst individual DVDs are £10 each (inc. P&P) . Mumsnetters are able to get a £10 discount on the Complete Guide by entering the code MUMSNET when purchasing online before 31st December 2012. See: www.essentialparent.com

Join Robert on Wednesday at 1pm or, as always, please post your advanced questions on this thread.

dippyegg Tue 18-Dec-12 10:59:50

Are some parenting styles better for your baby's brain development than others?

MrsJREwing Tue 18-Dec-12 12:55:52

Will there be more Child of our time programmes?

I still think of the religious girl who lost her Mum.

ReallyTired Tue 18-Dec-12 12:57:50

Is intelligence fixed by genetics or mallible. How much difference does parenting/ effort by the child actually make to academic achievement. Can you tell if a small child is gifted/ has learning difficulties accurately?

DeGlitterBug Tue 18-Dec-12 13:07:15

What is your view of controlled crying?

I can't make it tomorrow, so if my Q gets picked, then as a follow-up:

What developmental benefits (if any) do babies get from breastfeeding?

BedHog Tue 18-Dec-12 13:20:08

If you could pick three cheap or free activities to do with a young child which would be most beneficial to their brain development in a variety of ways, what would those three activities be? Why?

Thankyou! smile

LottieJenkins Tue 18-Dec-12 13:41:53

My son was born by ventouse delivery. He has special needs. Do you think the ventouse delivery could have caused this? Is there much evidence with regard to sn and ventouse...........??

MyLittleAprilSunshine Tue 18-Dec-12 14:14:07

Is there any correlation between being born prematurely and having less intelligence/slower brain development. I don't mean in relation to having special needs but just in general.

What are the best kind of activities you can do with a young child to help stimulate them mentally and why are these so benefical?

Thanks so much smile

MyLittleAprilSunshine Tue 18-Dec-12 14:15:27

Second was a follow up question by the way if question is chosen as most likely wont be around tomorrow, thought I'd clear that up. Thanks smile

LeBFG Tue 18-Dec-12 14:24:39

Parents (me included) worry so much about developmental milestones. Particularly the first year or two (I've seen posts with mums almost weeping in despair because their baby isn't smiling at 6 weeks). And particularly with the biggies: walking and talking.

How helpful really are milestones to parents? How much variation is there around the mean? Outside of children with real physical/cognitive problems, how important or useful is intervention when a child appears 'delayed'?

jetstar Tue 18-Dec-12 14:54:28

I also would like to know if there will be more Child of Our Time programmes, I'd love to know how they are doing now. smile

Hopskipandjump Tue 18-Dec-12 15:07:34

I would be very interested in Professor Winston's view on social skills development in children. My ds is an only child and has grown up in quite an adult world pre- going to school - I know that his social skills are behind his intellectual development. Generally, do social skills catch up once at school? Is there anything the professor would advise?

dietstartstmoz Tue 18-Dec-12 15:12:39

Hello Robert, I have always loved the programmes and articles you have done and my husband I particularly enjoyed 'Child of our Time'. We have a 5 year old son with a diagnosis of high functioning autism. He is in mainstream school and is making very good progress but obviously still has developmental delay and we fully expect him to always have issues. He has speech therapy activities daily at school and academically is coping well. Like many parents of a SN child we are always looking for 'answers' and also strategies for helping him with his brain development. Many things we have looked into are so expensive and our paediatrician is very dismissive of many 'interventions' e.g. different dietary programme etc. There is such little professional support and advice out there on SN, brain development and Autism.
I would be interested to know your opinions on the use of intervention programmes for brain development and learning skills past the age of 5 and where parents can start to find sources of support.
Also, do you have any plans to do any research in the area of SN in the future, with regards to development and brain development?
Thanks

Twinklylightsandbells Tue 18-Dec-12 15:21:55

I would be interested in the Professor's view on "daydreaming" and "concentration" in small children and how these things are impacted by development

PolkadotCircus Tue 18-Dec-12 15:34:43

Hi don't want to ask any questions but just want to say thank you.

Thank you to you and all the other IVF professionals behind the scenes and face to face who help couples like dp and I to become parents.

I had a battered old copy of a paperback book you wrote re infertility.It was my bible. The kindly informative style of your writing (along with all the other professionals we met along the way) pretty much got dp and I through our 7 year IVF roller coaster.

Back in those days you were pretty much it re keeping infertility in the public eye.

I'm now a proud mum of 9 year old fet/icsi twin boys and an 8 year old natural miracle girl.smile

Sorry to gatecrash!!!

BoffinMum Tue 18-Dec-12 15:35:43

Can you teach a child happiness? In other words, if you continually model what it means to be happy, and encourage them to laugh, will their brain wire itself in favour of an optimistic outlook to life as they grow up?

JeanBillie Tue 18-Dec-12 15:41:54

Wow, so interesting!

My daughter was born spontaneously at 36 weeks, at a healthy weight and with no complications. She was very slow to crawl (14.5 months) and at 17 months is yet to walk.

My instinct is that she is fine and just doing everything at her own pace. Do you think the vital 4-6 weeks she didn't have in the womb had an impact? And if so, at what stage might she "catch up" with her peers?

Thanks so much.grin

Loftyjen Tue 18-Dec-12 15:52:49

Am big Lord Winston fan so hoping I catch this tomorrow (toddler pending!).

Would also like to know what's happening with regard to "Child of our time" and any updates on the children. I felt it made child developmental so accessible and showed that there was a wide scope of "normal".

As a paediatric nurse about to join a health visiting team, I'd like to know if Lord Winston has any ideas of how HV's (and their wider team) can help families further regarding their child's development or if he has seen any good examples that he'd like to see further replicated around the country.

Thank you in advance smile

Do you think that children who are advanced in one area will be behind in others? I'm just asking because my 2 years and 11 months daughter will not potty train and we have tried everything from bribery to brute force gentle encouragement, yet she is months/years ahead on everything else.

I didn't know about the IVF thing until I read polkadot's post - my daughter is also IVF so thank you from me and my family.

Reenypip Tue 18-Dec-12 17:19:14

Hello,
Your Such an intelligent and inspiring person! i enjoy all the programmes and books you have made. I came to a lecture by you 8 years ago or so in Cardiff.

Question: Do you think learning a second language from a young age is beneficial and aids them in their longer term development? I'm thinking of sending my son to a welsh speaking school.

Also, do you think learning a musical instrument from a young age, helps them develop further in the long term?

LottieJenkins Tue 18-Dec-12 18:57:59

Not another question but just to say that i think Winstons Wish is great. My son found his father dead in bed two days before his fifth birthday and WW have supported us a great deal. I gave half the donations from my 40th birthday to WW in lieu of presents!

Prof Winston you are an inspiration. Sorry if this is slightly off-topic but I can't miss this opportunity! As a soon to graduate biomedical scientist, I'd love to go into the field of clinical embryology but places are severely limited. What advice would you give me and what do you believe the next advances in fertility treatments will be?

nellyjelly Tue 18-Dec-12 19:41:38

What is your view about the research into young children and day care? Am thinking about Oliver James for example, who as a psychologist is very keen to sell us the view that young children should be cared for at home preferably by their mothers.

I have read some of research but wondered on your view regarding children being cared for in nurseries etc from a young age. How significant is the developmental impact?

Goodkingwalkingslass Tue 18-Dec-12 19:46:18

Hello Lord Winston!

Do you think that the current guidelines to wean babies after 6 months are correct? And do you think baby led weaning and giving finger foods impacts development and eating habits later on in life?

Thanks in advance

FobblyWoof Tue 18-Dec-12 20:18:15

Is there any evidence to suggest having babies close together can have a negative effect on their brain development. And if so, does it at least help with social development?

Eatenthebiscuit Tue 18-Dec-12 21:21:53

1) YES PLEASE another series of Child Of Our Time is now overdue..

2) What is your view on the proposed changes to nursery ratios? My children have thrived in nursery settings but I would not like to see the 1:3 ration rise for under twos, do you have any views?

rhetorician Tue 18-Dec-12 21:32:30

Hello Lord Winston: like others, I am a great admirer of your work. I wonder what you think about the impact of so-called 'helicopter' parenting is on children?

hippoherostandinghere Tue 18-Dec-12 21:50:28

I am a huge fan of Lord Winston. I also would love to see an update on child of our time.

My question is do you think a traumatic birth can shape a child's personality? My son was born by forceps traumatically and was quickly taken to neonatal as he wasn't breathing. He has a very reserved personality and has been very self aware from an early age. Could his personally be shaped by his birth?

Shagmundfreud Tue 18-Dec-12 22:03:47

I would like to ask what changes you would like to see in relation to the way maternity care is currently managed to optimise healthy pregnancy and the development of babies while they are still being carried by their mothers. I feel strongly that women need better advice on nutrition and lifestyle in pregnancy but that the current way maternity care is managed denies midwives the time to educate and support women in relation to these issues.

I have no specific questions (although looking forward to reading the web chat tomorrow evening) but please please please can we have another child of our time series, I love it and would love to know how they are all doing.

diplodocus Tue 18-Dec-12 22:31:17

Can I ask about the long term impact of failure to thrive? My DD had quite marked failure to thrive for about the first 2 months of her life - basically she was just a poor feeder and fell from the 25th centile to below the 4th. This had resolved fully by 3-4 months and she is now very tall and healthy. She does however struggle a bit with certain things at school (nothing major and no diagnosis). Does FTT have longer term effects on brain development, and if so how severe / how can it manifest?
Many thanks.

My question is:
What are the societal effects of risk-averse parenting, and what effects do you envisage for the generation born to parents who had risk-minimised upbringings?

marshmallowpies Tue 18-Dec-12 23:57:38

Another big fan of Child of our Time here, was very disappointed when the series seemed to stop without warning. Did some of the parents withdraw consent or was it becoming harder to cover so many childrens' lives as they grew older & presumably underwent many more changes? I'd love to know what is happening to some of them!

cafecito Wed 19-Dec-12 04:30:44

ooh exciting!!

ok my relevant question is: if a toddler (eg age 3) has spent a long time away from its parent (more than a year), at what age can bad habits be unlearnt?

but I'd also like to ask..

What do you think of 3 parent IVF?
What do you think should happen to the HFEA?
What do you think of the animal studies in PGD showing ++ neurodegenerative disorders?
and legally do you believe there should be a duty of care to the unborn child after a certain gestation? do you believe parental choice trumps fetal welfare?

sybilfaulty Wed 19-Dec-12 06:38:15

Dear Lord Winston

Thank you for your work and for all that you do in your research. You are an inspiration.

I also remember how talented you were in Jamie's school (sorry, can't remember the programme's name). You managed to find a way to connect with the young people where others did not. Have you any tips for making that connection and making science accessible to reluctant students?

Thanks for coming and have a happy holiday smile

PS I remember a programme where you learned to play the clarinet. Do you still play to relax as I recall you were rather good?

Lollydaydream Wed 19-Dec-12 07:20:41

Do you think parents are supported enough to in turn support their child's development now that Health visitor support seems scarce and early years provision such as Sure Start is reduced. How can we persuade government to take early years support seriously and not just pay lip service to its value.

OodKingWenceslas Wed 19-Dec-12 07:36:17

How much impact do you think stress in pregnancy has? I had a v stressful pregnancy with dd2 -- mainly due to xh-- and I've had a lot of problems with her behaviour and development. There are other factors influencing this as well.

OodKingWenceslas Wed 19-Dec-12 07:38:35

Good question lolly
going back almost 10 years with dd2 we had to request checks for her as I had concerns. I work witha lot of families who wouldn't recognise problems so who would pick them up for early help?

Cuddledup Wed 19-Dec-12 08:01:38

I second the motion calling for another Child of our Time series. It was brilliant and really helped me when I had my DD. I often think of those kids and their parents and wonder where they are now.

PS: Lord W looks like an Old Testament prophet IMO!

OodKingWenceslas Wed 19-Dec-12 08:04:49

It's normally the start of the year isn't it? Dd1 is a few weeks older than those children so it's always been interesting to compare.

litquot Wed 19-Dec-12 08:25:02

Mostly just wanted to say thank you to you and all those who worked in early IVF, without whom I would not have my DD. thanks
She was born 11 weeks early and I am convinced that all the reading, singing but mostly talk, talk, talking to her in the first six months helped her brain development (but of course we'll never know whether she was always going to be a whizz at reading anyway!).
She finds spatial things really hard -puzzles, clothes, cutlery etc and I know this is common in ex-prems, why exactly is this, I think this part of the brain develops late??

QuietNinjaChristmasSpecial Wed 19-Dec-12 09:10:02

I don't have a question but wanted to say hello and mark my place. The child of our time series is fab and I would be interested to see how the children are getting on now.

gazzalw Wed 19-Dec-12 09:21:25

We have always enjoyed "Child of Our Time" as DS is in that cohort too. I imagine it is more difficult to film the children as they get older and become more self-conscious and the programmes will be dealing with all the issues around puberty.

On a different note, I recall that lots of parents talk about their DSs having testosterone surges at the age of about three or four to explain away their boisterous behaviour. Is there robust scientific evidence to support this? Does something similar happen for girls too?

baahhumbug Wed 19-Dec-12 09:28:08

I just wanted to say that I am a big fan and have always loved your programmes, would love to see more Child of Our Time, maybe it would be possible to bring out a DVD box set of the programmes already shown?

Also many thanks for all the work you have done over the years and especially because you handed my daughter Sara her GCSE certificates at Sherburn in Elmet high school about eight years ago, she was delighted to meet you.

VenetiaLanyon Wed 19-Dec-12 09:36:04

Hello Lord Winston,

I would love to ask so many questions of you, but here are just 2: smile

1. Does it tend to follow that talking, reading and writing earlier than your peers is a sign of greater intelligence later in life, or do children just develop at different speeds?

2. To what degree are diet and exercise implicated in neural development, and do vitamin supplements have any role to play?

Thanks very much smile

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 09:54:33

Testing

My DS has had a long series of imaginary friends - some of his descriptions of these friends are so detailed that it even lead to the embarassing situation where I sent a note to the imaginary parents of his imaginary friends at school inviting them round to play as I thought they were real.

He has ASD and problems distinguising between what is real in his head and what is actual reality. In your experience is this something he will grow out of in time, or can we intervene? He's 6.

PolkadotCircus Wed 19-Dec-12 10:09:21

I have got a few questions now.

Are you going to do another IVF documentary,looking closely at all the techniques new and old?I'd find it fascinating to see how our children came to be up close.Also interested in how those families in the IVF documentary you did years ago are doing.

Also does being part of a twin pregnancy have any impact on brain/child development?

We love Child of Our Time too.

Finally one of my twins wants to be a doctor,any tips on helping him on that road within state education?

greatbigshinybaubles Wed 19-Dec-12 10:41:49

No question from me, just wanted you to know how inspirational you were to me when I was growing up. I decided I wanted to be a doctor after watching you in the IVF documentary so many others have commented on. I am sure my fascination with all things sciency started with you - so thank you, I am now lucky enough to have a career that I love.

(p.s. Polkadot - i think work experience is still a key thing on the application form. I was state educated and had no way of getting direct experience of sitting in with a dr. In my experience this is usually organised by a doctor friend of the family! However, I managed to get work as a GP receptionist during school holidays instead and did some healthcare assistant work which went down well with the interviewers. Good luck!)

Lollydaydream Wed 19-Dec-12 10:45:51

oodking yes I had similar experience with dd1, it took a fair bit of time before I could get help with her speech because HVs didn't listen. Even with dd2 where we left hospital knowing she would have some degree of developmental problems due to a brain injury the HVs were very hands off and I felt didn't know what to do. Fortunately she is not severely affected and more specialist support has been available once she turned 12 - 18 months, I'll never forget the isolation of those first few months; and maybe I could have done more to help her.

aufaniae Wed 19-Dec-12 10:48:35

I really enjoyed Child of our Time, and particularly remember the episode on gender.

I wonder if you've noticed while doing your Christmas shopping, how the marketing of toys these days is becoming ever more gendered?

Many shops selling toys (e.g. Boots, M&S) now market all their science toys as boys' toys for example. It's also pretty common to find all construction toys in "boys" and "girls" shelves full of domestic play and beauty toys, and all the arts & crafts.

I wondered what your view on this is?

If children are denied toys which marketing people deem as for the "wrong sex", do you think this could affect their development?

If so, do you think this has wider implications for our society?

r3dsquirrel Wed 19-Dec-12 10:52:16

What is your view on 'sleep training', specifically controlled crying?

RailRoaded Wed 19-Dec-12 11:09:47

Really love your programmes and their sensible approach to raising children.

I have two questions please.

When a baby is very hard to care for: cries constantly, poor sleeping, tricky feeding and needs constant carrying and soothing the parents almost inevitably end up tired and sometimes depressed. I've read plenty of articles in the media about how babies with depressed mothers can go on to have development problems but I wonder if in some cases it was the baby's developmental issues and high needs that can cause the PND in the first place?

What is your view on the success of Applied Behaviour Analysis as a method for teaching children with ASD and learning disabilities? It is accepted in the US but is still very niche and rarely funded in the UK

WomanlyWoman Wed 19-Dec-12 11:39:58

Similar to Aufaniae's question, Do you think children are naturally drawn to play with particular types of toy or do you think they will play with anything they are given? What do you think of the 'research' that claims toy prefences may be innate?

Vickyogle Wed 19-Dec-12 11:46:21

Hi I also would like to know your thoughts on sleep training and controlled crying. Also what is your opinion on cosleeping in particular bed sharing. Thank you.

milkyjo Wed 19-Dec-12 11:52:17

Hello Prof. Winston!
Does watching TV for an hour a day have a negative effect on a child's brain development? If a young child never watched TV would they be more advanced than one who watched TV a little bit each day or one who watched TV constantly? Do you think 'educational' programmes make a difference with regards to how much TV a child watches?
Thanks

SO many amazing questions here, really hope you get a chance to answer BoffinMum's and some of the premmie mums here.

My question is what is the best way to handle the stage when they are crossing over between 'needs' and 'wants'? i.e. most of us accept that if a young baby cries they have needs that must be responded to, and that is important to their emotional development. And most of us accept that if you constantly give in to an older toddler or small child, that will be detrimental to their social development. But what of the middle stage, particularly a baby who tantrums early?

My DS began toddler-style tantrums (head banging, arms and legs flailing) from around 8 months. He is now 11 months (13 corrected) and really quite hard to handle (he's also a twin, so 1-1 time is limited)! I can't reason with him, I can't bribe him, I don't know how much he really understands about consequences, but I equally am aware that it's easy to fall into 'spoiling' habits by giving in each time he refuses food/fights nappy changes/getting dressed etc. Interested to hear your thoughts!

halfthesize Wed 19-Dec-12 12:28:09

Hi Professor Winston,

I was wondering what your views were on a toddler(age3) who from birth has had issues with
1: sleep(did not sleep through till 18 months and still up at least once a week)
2: eating (will not eat anything hot or veg or meat) He is a healthy weight but I am worried it will affect his development.
3: he finds pronouncing his 's' and 'f' a problem.

Love Chlid of our timegrin hoping for another series.

LineRunner Wed 19-Dec-12 12:35:05

Do you have any strong views on 'Attachment Disorder'? It still seems a popular theory with many social workers. Just wondering.

smile

Hi Professor Winston,

I've been a fan of your work for some time and I'm so happy that you'll be doing a webchat.

My question is: What do you think parents can do to ensure raising well-rounded children? If you could give any examples to use in everyday life, I would be very grateful.

Thanks and Merry Christmas grin

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 19-Dec-12 12:54:37

Great to see so many questions in. Professor Winston is preparing to join us (sadly not from MNHQ) and will start answering your questions shortly and get through as many as possible within the next hour.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 12:57:41

Watch this space! RW

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 12:58:40

Both are important. Parenting is extremely important in academic achievement. RW

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 12:59:27

Talk to them! Show them new things. LISTEN to their responses.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:00:08

LottieJenkins

My son was born by ventouse delivery. He has special needs. Do you think the ventouse delivery could have caused this? Is there much evidence with regard to sn and ventouse...........??

Hi Lottie. The 2 things are almost certainly unrelated. RW

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:01:19

MyLittleAprilSunshine

Is there any correlation between being born prematurely and having less intelligence/slower brain development. I don't mean in relation to having special needs but just in general.

What are the best kind of activities you can do with a young child to help stimulate them mentally and why are these so benefical?

Thanks so much smile

There is no correlation between prem births and lower intelligence. RW

lagoonhaze Wed 19-Dec-12 13:01:30

Watching with interest.

Would like views on how to help children who have been smacked/experience violence in the pass regain trust.

MikeOxardInTheSnow Wed 19-Dec-12 13:02:31

How exciting! Not a question, but I just wanted to say I love all your programs, please make lots more! You are a total legend! :D

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:02:31

LeBFG

Parents (me included) worry so much about developmental milestones. Particularly the first year or two (I've seen posts with mums almost weeping in despair because their baby isn't smiling at 6 weeks). And particularly with the biggies: walking and talking.

How helpful really are milestones to parents? How much variation is there around the mean? Outside of children with real physical/cognitive problems, how important or useful is intervention when a child appears 'delayed'?

Dear LeBFG. Milestones are a rather crude way of measuring development since there is massive variation. RW

zzzzz Wed 19-Dec-12 13:08:31

Is sn (particularly ASD/neurological difference) related in anyway other than parental age to frozen embryo transfer?
Or multiple births?

ChristmasKnackers Wed 19-Dec-12 13:09:01

Is there any correlation in babies 'personalities' when young and how they act when adults. A very basic example would be a smiley baby - smiley adult.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:11:44

thank you very much for your comments - so lovely to hear from you. RW

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:14:05

Reenypip

Hello,
Your Such an intelligent and inspiring person! i enjoy all the programmes and books you have made. I came to a lecture by you 8 years ago or so in Cardiff.

Question: Do you think learning a second language from a young age is beneficial and aids them in their longer term development? I'm thinking of sending my son to a welsh speaking school.

Also, do you think learning a musical instrument from a young age, helps them develop further in the long term?

Both learning languages and learning musical instruments are very beneficial in all sorts of ways. I would encourage children - if they show an interst - to do both. But sometimes thesethings can't be forced. RW

missbrightside Wed 19-Dec-12 13:15:45

Dear Professor Winston

I appreciate that everyone's medical circumstances are so very different but - if you could give just one tip to women going through IVF to increase their chances of success - what would it be ?

Kind Regards - and thanks for all your pioneering work.

Hello, I have a question that no Dr has been able to answer as yet. We would like to have IVF and in order to do this, I'd need to become an egg donor to help with the cost. We already have a 7 year old daughter with severe learning difficulties. There is no other diognosis other than this. Would I be able to donate my eggs, if I had all the nessessary screening? My husbands 5 year old nephiew is showing some of the same traits as my daughter, so it's likely to be on my husbands side anyway, but how can we find out?
If you could answer this question, I'd be very greatful. I've been a fan of yours for many years! smile

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:17:25

Ummofumbridge

Prof Winston you are an inspiration. Sorry if this is slightly off-topic but I can't miss this opportunity! As a soon to graduate biomedical scientist, I'd love to go into the field of clinical embryology but places are severely limited. What advice would you give me and what do you believe the next advances in fertility treatments will be?

hello there. the answer must be to write around to clinics and universities which are doing clinic embryology. jobs are tight and persistence is going to be very imprtant. i think it's foolish to suggest what advances might happen in any scientific treatment but hope that assessments of pre-implantation embryos will lead to more successful transfers. RW

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:20:26

nellyjelly

What is your view about the research into young children and day care? Am thinking about Oliver James for example, who as a psychologist is very keen to sell us the view that young children should be cared for at home preferably by their mothers.

I have read some of research but wondered on your view regarding children being cared for in nurseries etc from a young age. How significant is the developmental impact?

Dear Nelly jelly. It goes without saying that research into the care of young children is always critical - otherwise how will we ever improve what we do? Oliver James may be peddling an unrealistic ambition - more and more families have to devolve childcare to a 3rd person and vast numbers have not been harmed by this - in many different societies. the quailty of the care is what matters.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:21:27

Whats wrong with the current guidelines? They are guidelines. RW

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:22:05

No. Yes. RW

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:24:19

hippoherostandinghere

I am a huge fan of Lord Winston. I also would love to see an update on child of our time.

My question is do you think a traumatic birth can shape a child's personality? My son was born by forceps traumatically and was quickly taken to neonatal as he wasn't breathing. He has a very reserved personality and has been very self aware from an early age. Could his personally be shaped by his birth?

There really is very little evidence that a traumatic birth has a long standing effect on personality. Although in the first few months after delivery there is some evidence that is there has been a traumatic delivery - there may be slightly differnt behaviour. RW

DameMargotFountain Wed 19-Dec-12 13:27:53

did you feel any envy at random men growing moustaches for MoVember at all?

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:28:35

InMySpareTime

My question is:
What are the societal effects of risk-averse parenting, and what effects do you envisage for the generation born to parents who had risk-minimised upbringings?

Dear Inmysparetime. I think our society is ludicrous in its attitude towards risk. Children have to learn how to keep themselves safe - to some extent - needing of course parental guidance. I took a 3 mile bus ride to school every morning from the age of 7 and from the age of 9 took a 45 minute ride on the underground using the Picadilly Line every morning and evening - and after dark in winter. I don't think it did me any harm! RW

zzzzz Wed 19-Dec-12 13:30:17

Is the no/yes for me?

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:33:20

TheNightwearBeforeChristmas

Hi Professor Winston,

I've been a fan of your work for some time and I'm so happy that you'll be doing a webchat.

My question is: What do you think parents can do to ensure raising well-rounded children? If you could give any examples to use in everyday life, I would be very grateful.

Thanks and Merry Christmas grin

Dear NighbeforeChristmas. We can never ensure a well rounded child, but encouraging questions, listening, explaining things at every opportunity, and saying you dont know when you dont know - will always be helpful. RW

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:35:56

Most of the time problems with attachment are the result of parents not communicating and not showing love. RW

zzzzz Wed 19-Dec-12 13:38:21

grin DameMargot are you flirting with the visiting dignitary? grin

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 19-Dec-12 13:38:58

zzzzz

Is the no/yes for me?

Apologies - RW is doing the webchat remotely and we're having a few tech ishoes - we'll make sure we find this out for you before he heads off...

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:41:48

TwelveLeggedWalk

SO many amazing questions here, really hope you get a chance to answer BoffinMum's and some of the premmie mums here.

My question is what is the best way to handle the stage when they are crossing over between 'needs' and 'wants'? i.e. most of us accept that if a young baby cries they have needs that must be responded to, and that is important to their emotional development. And most of us accept that if you constantly give in to an older toddler or small child, that will be detrimental to their social development. But what of the middle stage, particularly a baby who tantrums early?

My DS began toddler-style tantrums (head banging, arms and legs flailing) from around 8 months. He is now 11 months (13 corrected) and really quite hard to handle (he's also a twin, so 1-1 time is limited)! I can't reason with him, I can't bribe him, I don't know how much he really understands about consequences, but I equally am aware that it's easy to fall into 'spoiling' habits by giving in each time he refuses food/fights nappy changes/getting dressed etc. Interested to hear your thoughts!

Dear twelveleggedwalk. I don't agree that when a young baby cries it necessarily has needs that must be responded to - and clearly giving into a child when there is a clear need not to do so is bound to be detrimental. It sounds to me most likely that your son will grow out of his current tantrums. Its a painful process and its very likely he will not understand consequences at this stage of developmemt. However if this pattern of behaviour continues it mught be worthwhile seeking professional help. In the meantime I suspect you may need to use a degree of firmness. I would add one thing - given that his twin is not showing this behaviour - it might be worthwhile checking with your Dr to make sure he doesnt have an underlying medical condition. RW

DameMargotFountain Wed 19-Dec-12 13:42:22

zzzzz i might be grin

ack, it's christmas, even professors have a sense of humour wink

hopefully

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:45:07

milkyjo

Hello Prof. Winston!
Does watching TV for an hour a day have a negative effect on a child's brain development? If a young child never watched TV would they be more advanced than one who watched TV a little bit each day or one who watched TV constantly? Do you think 'educational' programmes make a difference with regards to how much TV a child watches?
Thanks

Dear milkyjo. I would have thought that watching tv for an hour a day is more valuable than staring through a dining room window. I would add that in general prolonged watching tv without parental supervision is not a good idea for any child of a young age. RW

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:49:41

aufaniae

I really enjoyed Child of our Time, and particularly remember the episode on gender.

I wonder if you've noticed while doing your Christmas shopping, how the marketing of toys these days is becoming ever more gendered?

Many shops selling toys (e.g. Boots, M&S) now market all their science toys as boys' toys for example. It's also pretty common to find all construction toys in "boys" and "girls" shelves full of domestic play and beauty toys, and all the arts & crafts.

I wondered what your view on this is?

If children are denied toys which marketing people deem as for the "wrong sex", do you think this could affect their development?

If so, do you think this has wider implications for our society?

I think this is interesting. There s some evidence that little boys tend to like mechanical toys and little girls toys to do with parenting. All this is highly controversial and politically incorrect but this apparent trend is not necessarily merely due to conditioning but may be innate

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:53:37

KeemaNaanAndCurryOn

My DS has had a long series of imaginary friends - some of his descriptions of these friends are so detailed that it even lead to the embarassing situation where I sent a note to the imaginary parents of his imaginary friends at school inviting them round to play as I thought they were real.

He has ASD and problems distinguising between what is real in his head and what is actual reality. In your experience is this something he will grow out of in time, or can we intervene? He's 6.

I think this is brilliant. I had imaginary friends when I was 3 or 4 called Digger and Fidger and we used to have telephone conversations and arrange council meetings. My eldest daughter had Connie and Dettie who lived in the Finchley Road (I don't know which number or what they did there). I don't think it is related in anyway to a disorder - but surely is highly positive. Can't speak for myself but my daughter seems OK.

aufaniae Wed 19-Dec-12 13:54:56

Thanks for the answer smile

I wasn't asking if gender traits are innate however.

I was wondering what you think the effect would be of limiting girl's access to toys perceived as "boys toys" (such as science kits) and boys from "girls toys" (e.g. arts & crafts), even if they might like to play with them.

Do you think this could stifle their development?

Thanks smile

KvetnutsRoastingOnAnOpenFire Wed 19-Dec-12 13:55:41

ooh, I thought I was going to miss this, but got on line in time!

My question is:
are the terrible twos/truly bloody awful threes a new phenomenon? I know so so many parents of 2 and 3 year olds who are losing the will to live wondering why their child is such a contrary little being, and such hard work - but my parents/grandparents/aunts etc all say they never saw toddlers behaving this way 'in their day'. I'm wondering if it's a case of blanking the full horror of parenting a toddler from their memories, or if it is genuinely a new thing?

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:56:28

OodKingWenceslas

How much impact do you think stress in pregnancy has? I had a v stressful pregnancy with dd2 -- mainly due to xh-- and I've had a lot of problems with her behaviour and development. There are other factors influencing this as well.

There is some evidence that stress in early pregnancy - around 20 - 26 weeks - may be associated with some difficulties as some children grow up. But I suspect that a good postnatal evironment helps to ensure that these effects are not serious in most cases.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:57:03

Interesting. Don't know.

Thank you for answering. As they were 2 months they've been thoroughly checked by a barrage of doctors for all kinds of medical conditions! He did have reflux when younger, which I previously wondered if it contributed. Now I think it is just his personality (he is the spit of his father, who's capable of a good tantrum when flatpack furniture building, that kind of thing...!). THe only other thing I have considered is cranial osteopathy - do you have any views on that?

2 months early sorry

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 13:59:48

missbrightside

Dear Professor Winston

I appreciate that everyone's medical circumstances are so very different but - if you could give just one tip to women going through IVF to increase their chances of success - what would it be ?

Kind Regards - and thanks for all your pioneering work.

Go to a doctor who gives you time and clinic that you trust and preferably one in a good academic centre (not purely a private clinic boasting about its 'excellent' success rates which may be unrepresentative anyway). Units doing serious research in universities are best in my view.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 14:00:58

ChristmasKnackers

Is there any correlation in babies 'personalities' when young and how they act when adults. A very basic example would be a smiley baby - smiley adult.

Yes - I think there is a really strong correlation between early personality traits and later attributes.

OodKingWenceslas Wed 19-Dec-12 14:03:36

Thanks for the reply first time I've had one in a webchat

WhatKatyDidnt Wed 19-Dec-12 14:05:31

Re yr 13.56 post - When you say stress in early pregnancy do you mean stress on the baby (eg IUGR) or mother's emotional stress?

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 14:05:54

VenetiaLanyon

Hello Lord Winston,

I would love to ask so many questions of you, but here are just 2: smile

1. Does it tend to follow that talking, reading and writing earlier than your peers is a sign of greater intelligence later in life, or do children just develop at different speeds?

2. To what degree are diet and exercise implicated in neural development, and do vitamin supplements have any role to play?

Thanks very much smile

There is not a strong correlation though it is certainly some children who read early are gifted; others who appear to be total dunces may be gifted too, though. The relationship with talking and physical development is even less well established. I had one child who talked late and one who talked early and one who said nothing until two, when that child started talking in complete sentences. None of them showed that there was any correlation with later aptitude.

Emandlu Wed 19-Dec-12 14:09:48

You haven't answered as to the whereabouts of the Child Of Our Time series. my daughter is about the same age and I always found it fascinating.

Is it due for a comeback now they are about to be 13?

OodKingWenceslas Wed 19-Dec-12 14:13:39

whatkaty I assumed it was a response to my question about mothers stress.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 19-Dec-12 14:14:07

I'm afraid Prof Winston has had to leave us now, however he did prepare some answers in advance and these are going to be posted up now. Apologies for the confusion with some posts - we'll try and match up those that don't relate to a specific question now. Thanks to all those who joined the discussion today.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 14:19:52

DeGlitterBug

What is your view of controlled crying?

I can't make it tomorrow, so if my Q gets picked, then as a follow-up:

What developmental benefits (if any) do babies get from breastfeeding?

I am not sure what you mean by controlled crying but there is evidence that babies left to cry experience stress and have raised cortisol levels even after their crying ceases.
Breastfeeding provides a good balance of fats that are important for brain development. There are emotional benefits to the close act of breastfeeding a baby and it is possible to feed your baby with a bottle in a similar way, eye contact, skin to skin contact, parent feeding etc.

WhatKatyDidnt Wed 19-Dec-12 14:20:40

Ah thanks OodKing - yes, I can see that now.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 14:22:59

Hopskipandjump

I would be very interested in Professor Winston's view on social skills development in children. My ds is an only child and has grown up in quite an adult world pre- going to school - I know that his social skills are behind his intellectual development. Generally, do social skills catch up once at school? Is there anything the professor would advise?

We are social animals and social skills are an important part of development. It's very important that children get to spend time with other children as they learn to cope with frustration, sharing, making friends and of course having fun with peers. School helps with all these social skills but playing with cousins, children on your street and parties all helps.

ChristmasKnackers Wed 19-Dec-12 14:23:16

it was my first one! Very interesting.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 14:28:56

Twinklylightsandbells

I would be interested in the Professor's view on "daydreaming" and "concentration" in small children and how these things are impacted by development

I think daydreaming and concentrating are both important parts of being a child and an adult. Different children will concentrate and daydream in different situations, some children will spend a long time concentrating on a jigsaw but might not concentrate on a physical task.
Learning to concentrate and having the freedom to daydream are both important to development and children generally get the opportunity for both.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 14:31:22

BoffinMum

Can you teach a child happiness? In other words, if you continually model what it means to be happy, and encourage them to laugh, will their brain wire itself in favour of an optimistic outlook to life as they grow up?

Hello BoffinMum. Children who develop a strong and loving attachment with a warm, patient and consistent parent are more likely to be happy and resilient. Early nurture and bonding have profound and longterm effects on a child’s happiness and optimism.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 14:36:16

Goodkingwalkingslass

Hello Lord Winston!

Do you think that the current guidelines to wean babies after 6 months are correct? And do you think baby led weaning and giving finger foods impacts development and eating habits later on in life?

Thanks in advance

From what I remember on our Essential Baby Care Guide DVDs, the current Department of Health guidelines were to wean babies 'around 6 months.' I think food and eating is an important and joyful part of life and babies should be encouraged to eat with their family (where they can model trying new things), try lots of different foods but not be put under pressure to eat (I was forced to eat cheese and hate it to this day!)

comelywenchlywoo Wed 19-Dec-12 14:44:03

What an interesting webchat, I enjoyed that very much. Thank you Mumsnet HQ and Lord Winston. T'was excellent!

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 14:46:41

Lollydaydream

Do you think parents are supported enough to in turn support their child's development now that Health visitor support seems scarce and early years provision such as Sure Start is reduced. How can we persuade government to take early years support seriously and not just pay lip service to its value.

I agree that supporting children and their parents in those first few years is a vital moral duty that we have as a nation. One of the reasons I support and endorse the Essential Baby Care Guides is that they have been designed to help new and expectant parents to love, nurture and care for their babies.
We've been thrilled by the response from the expert organisations we've worked with, as well as the children's centres, the Dept Health and healthcare professionals. There is a strong will to try and support parents and babies in the community.
However, it is frustrating that as a rich nation we still see so much need for support of babies and their parents in our society.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 14:47:48

BedHog

If you could pick three cheap or free activities to do with a young child which would be most beneficial to their brain development in a variety of ways, what would those three activities be? Why?

Thankyou! smile

Talk to them. Show them new things. Listen to their responses. Great question. RW

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 14:49:01

Emandlu

You haven't answered as to the whereabouts of the Child Of Our Time series. my daughter is about the same age and I always found it fascinating.

Is it due for a comeback now they are about to be 13?

Watch this space! RW

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 14:51:45

dietstartstmoz

Hello Robert, I have always loved the programmes and articles you have done and my husband I particularly enjoyed 'Child of our Time'. We have a 5 year old son with a diagnosis of high functioning autism. He is in mainstream school and is making very good progress but obviously still has developmental delay and we fully expect him to always have issues. He has speech therapy activities daily at school and academically is coping well. Like many parents of a SN child we are always looking for 'answers' and also strategies for helping him with his brain development. Many things we have looked into are so expensive and our paediatrician is very dismissive of many 'interventions' e.g. different dietary programme etc. There is such little professional support and advice out there on SN, brain development and Autism.
I would be interested to know your opinions on the use of intervention programmes for brain development and learning skills past the age of 5 and where parents can start to find sources of support.
Also, do you have any plans to do any research in the area of SN in the future, with regards to development and brain development?
Thanks

I think as a parent of a special needs child you are right to be open to new interventions. I am sure there is a big range from the frankly hokey to the good evidence based intervention. Sometimes support groups can offer very good up to date advice for parents in a way that a GP could never do. Good nutrition is always a good idea and factors like Vitamin D levels will probably be reassessed and the guidelines will change.
I don't have expertise in the area of intervention on learning skills in children over the age of 5 I'm afraid. Again, I would go to the support groups as a first point of call.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 14:59:33

halfthesize

Hi Professor Winston,

I was wondering what your views were on a toddler(age3) who from birth has had issues with
1: sleep(did not sleep through till 18 months and still up at least once a week)
2: eating (will not eat anything hot or veg or meat) He is a healthy weight but I am worried it will affect his development.
3: he finds pronouncing his 's' and 'f' a problem.

Love Chlid of our timegrin hoping for another series.

Your 3 year old doesn't sound very different from lots of his peers. The s and f sounds can come quite late (if you are worried you can contact the charity I CAN). Sleeping and eating are often areas of stress for parents at this stage. Try not to make eating a battleground but offer lots of choice and encourage eating with friends and family as children often try things in a social setting that they would not when being scrutinised by an anxious parent. As for the sleep, we have a great sleep expert called Mandy Gurney on our DVDs and she has a whole DVD dedicated to the science of sleep with lots of top tips on how to use your babies sleep hormones and daylight to improve night time sleep.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 15:02:55

rhetorician

Hello Lord Winston: like others, I am a great admirer of your work. I wonder what you think about the impact of so-called 'helicopter' parenting is on children?

If by helicopter parenting you mean watching over them constantly, I think this is a mistake. Children need to be kept safe but micromanaging their every utterance, interaction and decision is not a good idea. Within a safe environment children need to be thwarted by peers, climb trees and learn to negotiate and get on with their friends.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 15:06:10

LineRunner

Do you have any strong views on 'Attachment Disorder'? It still seems a popular theory with many social workers. Just wondering.

smile

I think that a good, happy, consistent and loving bond with your parents is the foundation of good mental health. That's not to say that some children cannot overcome a difficult start, with the right help and support.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 15:08:46

MrsJREwing

Will there be more Child of our time programmes?

I still think of the religious girl who lost her Mum.

There will be - but not sure when - watch this space.

halfthesize Wed 19-Dec-12 15:09:01

Thank you so much for your help and advice Professor Winston. thanks

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 15:27:09

dippyegg

Are some parenting styles better for your baby's brain development than others?

Dear dippyegg. As long as the baby is experiencing love, warmth, plenty of skin to skin contact, & common sense when it comes to the basic care issues such as feeding and sleep, then you will be doing the best you can as a parent. Remember to talk a lot to your baby, and give them time to gurgle a response.

RobertWinston Wed 19-Dec-12 15:29:39

ReallyTired

Is intelligence fixed by genetics or mallible. How much difference does parenting/ effort by the child actually make to academic achievement. Can you tell if a small child is gifted/ has learning difficulties accurately?

Both are important. Parenting is extremely important in academic achievement.

blossombath Wed 19-Dec-12 20:32:35

Great webchat - lovely of Prof Winston to answer so many questions. Thanks!

MrsJREwing Wed 19-Dec-12 21:50:17

Yes lovely webchat, so pleased there will be more child of our time.

JugglingMeYorkiesAndNutRoast Wed 19-Dec-12 22:47:08

Ooh, I can't wait for the next update on Child of Our Time - like another poster my DC's are around the same age - one slightly older, one slightly younger - so I've been following it closely.

Thanks for such an interesting webchat thanks

jetstar Thu 20-Dec-12 07:52:24

Very interesting! Thank you!

RailRoaded Thu 20-Dec-12 08:52:05

My question wasn't answered even though people who asked after me got a response. Goes off to sulk...

zzzzz Thu 20-Dec-12 09:28:43

Mne wasn't either. I think there's just only so much time, so it's inevitable that only some ar going to be lucky,

gazzalw Thu 20-Dec-12 09:49:04

Didn't answer mine either but was incredibly impressed by the number he did answer!

BoffinMum Thu 20-Dec-12 10:45:06

MNHQ, could you send the following follow up question to him for me? If I ask very nicely?

If you took two children who had both experienced equally good attachment/bonding with their parents, and one child lived in a house where people laughed a lot and encouraged fun, whereas the other child lived in a house where people were habitually grumpy, would growing up in this environment have a physical effect on a developing child's brain (as well as his or her sense of optimism/resilience)?

JugglingMeYorkiesAndNutRoast Thu 20-Dec-12 16:28:21

They wouldn't have equally good attachment and bonding with their parents IMHO Boffin !

BoffinMum Thu 20-Dec-12 18:48:08

Why not? Because grumpy people don't bond? That's a serious question, by the way.

JugglingMeYorkiesAndNutRoast Thu 20-Dec-12 18:58:06

I think people who know how to laugh and have fun probably have the personal resources to bond better with their babies yes Boffin
Very wise people like the Dalai Lama usually have a well developed sense of humour.
I imagine like many things successful bonding and attachment is on a spectrum - but probably as long as you (not personally obvs !) and baby aren't at extreme negative end it can be OK developmentally for the child ?

JugglingMeYorkiesAndNutRoast Thu 20-Dec-12 19:00:57

BTW I can be quite grumpy myself - I blame my mother wink (half-joking - and she has poorly developed sense of humour herself - think Benny Hill grin)

LeBFG Fri 21-Dec-12 09:58:11

I have a similar mum to Juggling grin. I can be quite grumpy/negative too so naturally think there's a link grin. Interesting you mentioned the word resilience though Boffin. I often wonder whether people born into less well-adjusted families, let us say, are more resourceful (relying more on inner resources) and resilient to life's buffetings. Dunno really though - something I've wondered before now though.

JugglingMeYorkiesAndNutRoast Fri 21-Dec-12 11:09:07

< waves to LeBFG .... just for fun ! smile >

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now