How seasons and your city can impact play!

April 17, 2024

Get Children Outside!

A major part of development is play! Play helps support development across multiple domains, especially outdoor activity. It allows children to gain skills in motor development while also expanding upon cognitive, language, and social-emotional development. Unfortunately, especially in New England, the weather is not always sunny and warm. This can lead to a change in play habits, especially given the location a child is in.


Today’s article expands upon play and how location and even the seasons can impact physical activity for children. In this study conducted in New Zealand, they found how play can vary based on location (i.e. city, suburbs, and rural areas) and have other factors impact activities such as safety concerns. It is interesting to read and learn how outdoor play differs from location to location and allows you to think back to your own prior experiences as a child!


To read today’s article, click here!


Mikayla Clemens

Research assistant, UConn KIDS

Trivia Tuesday

April 16, 2024

Welcome back to Trivia Tuesday!

This weeks question is… True or false: An intellectual disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Specific Learning Disorder, and Motor Disorders are all Neurodevelopmental disorders classified in the DSM-5.
A. True
B. False

Last weeks question was…”Which developmental disorder is characterized by these two features: persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across a variety of settings, and restrictive repetitive behaviors, interests, and activities.” The answer was Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD)

Tune in next week to find out the answer to this weeks question!

Parenting Styles

April 15, 2024

The concept of parenting styles has been well researched and well established. However, the concern of parenting styles within context is a new development. This has led to “domain-specific” models of parenting styles that are flexible and allow for different situational contexts. 

The previous parenting styles established were authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive parenting styles. This new way of thinking about parenting styles has led to the development of a fourth style, rejecting-neglecting style. 

The new “domain-specific” models of parenting describe parenting as “multifaceted and situationally determined.” This means that parents use different parenting styles depending on the situation. On top of this, the child’s interpretation might have different meanings which can be dependent on the stage of development or the culture. 

If you want to read more, click here!

Kaitlyn Vitucci

UConn KIDS, Research Assistant 

Resilience in Development

April 12, 2024

Resilience generally refers to a positive adaptation or development when experiencing adverse events, and within the context of human development resilience would include overcoming traumatic events all the way to dealing with stress in everyday life. Research within the last few years has shown the importance of understanding and promoting resilience in early childhood. 

This revelation has allowed for potential to implement practices that are specifically designed to promote healthier development, especially when considering those who face adversity and/or are disadvantaged. 

Despite the few challenges faced, systematic research has started on resilience in childhood. This research is aimed at children who are at a higher risk of problems, due to mental illnesses, social disadvantages, and poverty. The ultimate goal of this research is to use the findings to inform policies that are aimed at better development within high risk children. 

The most effective interventions occur during infancy and pre-school years, which helps to support parenting and provide enriched learning environments. This may be due to the fact that early success in school seemed to be important in learning resilience. Another finding of success is systems that focus on building competence and strengths within the family and children, as well as addressing problems early on. 

If you want to hear more about this exciting research, read here! 

Kaitlyn Vitucci
UConn KIDS, Research Assistant

Embracing Uncertainty

April 11, 2024


In this engaging talk, the speaker dives deep into the downsides of focusing too much on efficiency in today’s business world. They paint a vivid picture of a supermarket chain’s enthusiastic adoption of digital tools, which led to standardized tasks but failed to handle unexpected events like kids causing chaos or customers dropping eggs. The speaker argues that as our world becomes more complex, relying solely on efficiency isn’t enough. They use examples to show how predictions become less reliable in a fast-changing world.

Instead, the speaker suggests that resilience comes from being prepared, building coalitions, using imagination, and trying new things. They share stories about epidemic responses and sports team strategies to illustrate this. The speaker warns against blindly trusting technology, which could diminish crucial human skills and connections. They emphasize the importance of human relationships and teamwork during tough times.

In a powerful conclusion, the speaker urges listeners to embrace uncertainty with creativity and bravery, offering a hopeful outlook on thriving in an unpredictable future.  To watch the full Ted Talk click here.


Jasleen Kaur, UConn KIDS Research Assistant




The Linguistic Journey of an Infant

April 10, 2024

Discoveries from a recent study shed light on a fascinating link between infants’ ability to connect speech with faces and their future language prowess. This research, spanning from three months to three years, unveils a pivotal role for early social intersensory processing in shaping language development. Infants adept at matching speakers to speech at six months exhibited larger vocabularies and more speech by toddlerhood. Notably, this skill seems to unlock the door to richer language learning opportunities, enabling infants to glean more from their surroundings. However, the study also reveals that non-social intersensory processing, such as matching sounds to toys, doesn’t hold the same predictive power for language outcomes. Nonetheless, these findings open new avenues for interventions aimed at supporting language development in children, emphasizing the crucial role of early sensory experiences and parental engagement. As researchers delve deeper into the mechanisms underlying language acquisition, parents are encouraged to harness the power of multisensory interactions to nurture their infants’ linguistic journey.  To dig deeper click here.

Jasleen Kaur, UConn KIDS Research Assistant

Trivia Tuesday

April 9, 2024

Welcome back to Trivia Tuesday!

This week’s question is…Which developmental disorder is characterized by these two features: persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across a variety of settings, and restrictive repetitive behaviors, interests, and activities.

A. Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD)
B. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder(ADHD)
C. Intellectual disability
D. Learning disability 

Last weeks question was…”True or false: A context is a unique combination of personal and environmental circumstances that can result in different paths of change. These can include: gender, race, personality variables, and biological factors.” The answer was true!

Tune in next week to find out the answer to this weeks question!


Look on the bright side; positive impacts of playing video games

April 5, 2024

How Kids and Teens Can Make Money Playing Video Games | Mydoh

Video games are often observed in a negative light; a lot of research examines the negative effects of video games on youth… but what are some of the positives effects?

The articleThe Link Between Playing Video Games and Positive Youth Outcomes examines what are some of the positive effects behind video games. The study finds that there are numerous positive impacts such as promoting problem solving skills, social skills, and even physical activity! These findings give truly a new perspective on how video games support child development while also supporting the idea that future research is needed. 


To read more, click here!


Mikayla Clemens 

Research Assistant UConn KIDS 

Understanding with Empathy

April 4, 2024


Step into the captivating world of parental understanding and childhood aspirations in this touching narrative. Join Rain, a spirited 10-year-old, as he embarks on a journey within the delicate balance between parental expectations and personal dreams. Through Rain’s tumultuous experience with learning the violin, delve into the vast amount of complex layers of communication within families. Through his story, the audience gets a clear perspective of the frustration and tears that ensue when misunderstandings cloud the path to connection. However, amidst the misunderstanding, Rain’s mother learns the transformative power of empathy and understanding. Through her newfound perspective, she navigates the challenges of nurturing her child’s passions with grace and compassion. Follow the heartwarming evolution as Rain’s liberation from the violin becomes a catalyst for familial harmony. Through this touching tale, parents are invited to reflect on their own relationships with their children, pondering the significance of empathy in bridging generational divides. As Rain’s story unfolds, audiences are inspired to embrace their children’s dreams with understanding, fostering a symphony of love and connection within their own families. Don’t miss this enlightening journey into the depths of parental empathy and childhood aspirations, where every note resonates with the timeless melody of familial harmony. 

To read more about this story click here.  



Jasleen Kaur, UConn KIDS Research Assistant

How Do Children Grow, Learn, and Thrive?

April 3, 2024

If you’ve ever had this question before, you’re not the only one. A group of researchers at Harvard are currently researching how environments affect children’s learning skills and development. 

It has already been well researched and found that small children who grow and learn in formal and high-quality preschools develop better language, math, and literacy skills. As well as stronger emotional and social connections. But what about the other environments that children grow up and develop in?

This research is being led by Nonie Lesaux and Stephanie Jones, two developmental psychologists, who aim to conduct a study of 5,000 children. These children are 3 to 4 years old, and this study can possibly follow them into adult-hood! 

“Lesaux and Jones aim to update the science around child care by examining the links between children’s development and the characteristics of the educational and care settings where they spend their formative years…”

This research is extremely important because not all families have the resources to send their children to private or high-quality schools, and there’s a variety of environments that children grow up in. Some parents send their children to after school programs, relatives’ houses, and many other places. This study is promising and will hopefully produce telling results!

If you want to read more about this study, read here!

Kaitlyn Vitucci, Research Assistant UConn KIDS