Less Routine Tasks Lead to More Independent Children

September 24, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. outdoors /ˌaʊtˈdɔrz / (adv.) – outside a house or establishment
Example: Children love to play outdoors every afternoon.

2. leniency /ˈli ni ən si/ (n.) – the state of being agreeable and understanding
Example: Parents’ leniency can lead to having spoiled kids.

3. chore /tʃɔr/ (n.) – a regular task usually done repeatedly
Example: Mothers often do the chores in the house.

4. flexible /ˈflɛk sə bəl/ (adj.) – having the ability to adjust to different situations
ExampleFlexible students can do academic and extracurricular activities simultaneously.

5. sightseeing /ˈsaɪtˌsi ɪŋ/ (n.) – the act of going to beautiful places to see sceneries
Example: The family enjoyed sightseeing at the island last weekend.


Read the text below.
Study shows that letting kids enjoy outdoors help them be more independent by setting and doing something to meet their own goals.

Leniency and strictness have been the main subjects of debate in the field of parenthood. Usually, letting kids do structured activities like doing chores is the ideal way of raising children. But according to a study from the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU-Boulder), letting kids do less structured activities make them more independent.

Yuko Munakata, the study’s co-author, said that children’s ability to determine and achieve their goals can be measured through analyzing the individual’s “executive function.” She added that kids with developed executive functions can be more flexible in varied tasks, can be more disciplined, and can be good in decision-making.

To analyze how parents affected their children’s executive functions, the researchers monitored 70 six-year-old kids. For one week, parents recorded their kids’ activities, which were then categorized as “more structured” and “less structured.” Afterwards, the researchers evaluated how the children performed.

Based on the results, kids who mostly did less structured activities had better executive functions than those who did more structured activities. Less-structured activities include free play, sightseeing, reading, and outings. Meanwhile, more structured activities are composed of household tasks, sports and music lessons, and religious activities.

Despite the results, Munakata said the research is still imperfect, and that currently, only little scientific evidence supports the claims on which parenting style is better – tolerant or strict. However, she hopes that more studies about this matter will follow.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Why do you think less structured activities led to better executive functions?
·         Which would you encourage more for kids, indoor activities or outdoor activities? Kindly discuss your answer.

Discussion B

·         What do you think is the ideal parenting style? Please explain.
·         How else can parents make sure that their children become independent when they grow up?

September 24, 2014