Study: Playtime with Fathers May Improve Children’s Self-control

Category : Education/Family

Unlocking Word Meanings

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

  1. inclined / ɪnˈklaɪnd / (adj) – having a tendency to act or behave in a particular way

    The shy teenager is more inclined to stay home than go out with friends.

  2. piggyback ride / ˈpɪg iˌbæk raɪd / (n) – the act of carrying someone on a person’s back

    The mother gave her daughter a piggyback ride to the park.

  3. self-discipline / ˌsɛlfˈdɪs ə plɪn / (n) – the ability to make oneself do things that need to be done

    Sticking to a healthy diet involves a lot of self-discipline.

  4. stress / strɛs / (v) – to place importance on something

    My boss always stresses the importance of work-life balance.

  5. comfort zone / ˈkʌmfərt zoʊn / (n) – a settled way of working that does not require a lot of effort and produces results that are only barely acceptable

    The coach encouraged the athlete to step out of her comfort zone by training harder.


Read the text below.

A new study suggests that children who play with their fathers at a very young age may find it easier to control their actions and emotions later in life.

Conducted in partnership with the nonprofit organization LEGO Foundation, the study examined how playtime with parents affects children’s development. Researchers from the University of Cambridge reviewed data from 78 studies mostly conducted in Europe and North America between 1977 and 2017.

Findings showed that mothers and fathers share many similarities in how they play with their children. However, the researchers found that fathers are more inclined to do physical activities with their children, such as chasing, tickling, and giving piggyback rides.

According to the researchers, these kinds of interactions help children deal with their feelings and have better self-discipline when they grow up.  Children who experienced quality playtime with their fathers were less likely to have issues and problems with other kids at school. Study author Paul Ramchandani [ram-CHAN-da nee] explained that because physical play tends to create fun and exciting situations, children will be able to practice self-regulation. For example, children can learn to control their strength when physical play has gone too far.

Despite this finding, the researchers stressed that mothers can also support play involving physical activities. They added that all types of parent-child play at an early age can have a positive impact on children’s cognitive and emotional development. Ramchandani pointed out that while parents may have different approaches when playing with their kids, stepping outside their comfort zone is important, as introducing varied ways of play and interaction can greatly benefit children.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree that playtime influences a child’s behavior? Why or why not?
• How can parents step out of their comfort zone to provide meaningful playtime for their children? Discuss.

Discussion B

• In your opinion, at what age should parents start teaching children about self-control? Explain.
• How else can children’s self-control be improved (e.g. disciplining them, not always giving them what they want)? Discuss.

Category : Education/Family