Since beginning this blog last summer, I've addressed the issues of whether or not parents should regularly play with their children (July), parental fears keeping kids from unstructured outdoor play (September), and helicopter (hovering) parents (October). So it'll come as no surprise that I'm delighted by the results of a recent study showing that unsupervised kids are more sociable and more active!
Here are the key findings:
- Children allowed out without adult supervision are more active, being found at home less often. Statistically, they are more likely to be found playing out or visiting the homes of friends than children who aren't allowed out alone.
- Children walk faster and take a more direct route when an adult is present, but they do not use more energy than unaccompanied children. This is because unsupervised children move in a more meandering fashion as they investigate their environment and socialise with other children.
- Access to local open space is a significant factor in determining whether boys are allowed out of the house without an adult. 71% of those with access to open space were allowed out, compared to just 51% of those without such access.
- Of the three types of activity monitored during the study (walking, unstructured play and participation in organised clubs), walking used up the most activity calories.
Yup. I'm delighted!