Good news, bad news, survey finds.

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Findings of the Childhood Understanding Behaviors (CUBS) Survey

Parents of young children in Alaska may have read more to their three-year-old children, and these children may have watched less television in 2009 as compared to the year before, according to data from an ongoing survey conducted by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

The bad news: fewer mothers reported that their 3-year-old children spent quality time every day with their father or another adult male. [The survey results have not yet undergone statistical testing to determine whether the changes from 2008 to 2009 are real or just due to random bias.]

Those are among the findings of the Childhood Understanding Behaviors Survey (CUBS). CUBS surveys mothers to collect information about health behaviors and experiences of 3-year-old children in Alaska before they enter school. Women surveyed had participated three years earlier in the Alaska Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) survey.

Some examples of CUBS findings include:

2009: 61% of mothers reported that she or someone else read aloud to their child 30 minutes or more the previous day
2008: 56%

2009: 89% of mothers reported that they had more than 10 children’s books in their home
2008: 87%

The percentage of young children who spent two hours or more on the previous day watching TV, videos, or DVDs, was 43% in 2009, compared to 45% in 2008. Additionally:

2009: 9% of parents did not sit with their child at all while he watched TV
2008: 6%

Paradoxically, more mothers reported sitting with their child the entire time he or she watched television – 19% in 2009 compared to 17% in 2008. Both extremes apparently pulled from the middle segment, parents who said they watch part of the time.

The survey asked how many days of the previous week the child had spent more than one hour playing, reading, or spending time with his or her father or other adult male. In 2009: 73% said the child spent more than an hour every day with an adult male; in 2008, it was 78%.

This article appeared in the Best Beginnings March 2011 E-newsletter. Please refer to our Content Reproduction Policy if you are interested in reproducing content provided on this website.