Less is more when raising resilient kids

It is a good thing that most parents desire to give the best to their young children. However, when giving the best goes beyond basic necessities, it is nothing but frills (Pre-schools with plenty of frills at double the fees; Sept 18 and Pre-schools for the have-a-lots; Sept 28).

The frills may prove frustrating for children should they not have a smooth transition into a primary school environment.

The question is, do frills make a difference to a child's learning and development?

Spending a full day in a designer-built childcare centre compared with a day at a void-deck centre where the noise level may be higher due to an open-concept layout does make a difference to learning in terms of concentration, memory and retention.

Having a smaller class size does have an impact on learning provided the teacher is knowledgeable in child development and is able to apply theory into best practice by engaging children in meaningful learning activities and conversations.

Do children need meals designed by a paediatric nutritionist and prepared by a former hotel chef? I'm sure most pre-school meals are nutritious enough for our children's growth and development.

My concern is taste and lifestyle are acquired. What are the implications for children later in their lives in terms of their choices, preferences and consumption habits?

Pre-schools with frills try to mitigate any sense of entitlement by inculcating values in their curriculum. How effective and enduring will that be?

Less is more when it comes to raising resilient children. To give children true happiness and a mindset of resilience, it is best to take them outdoors, and without any frills. Children do not need a lot to thrive.

Children need to feel loved and secure in a clean and safe environment, and the chance to embrace nature through open spaces. They should have time to play and tinker with recycled materials to create, challenge and problem-solve together with their friends, and return home to a home-cooked meal.

This is deep happiness to children.

Rebecca Chan (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2017, with the headline 'Less is more when raising resilient kids'. Print Edition | Subscribe