A study shows that preschoolers who have good social skills – can share, help and cooperate with others – have a higher chance of success later in life.
In 20 years' time, these children were more likely to have a college degree and have a full-time job. They were less likely to get in trouble with the law and have problems with drug and substance abuse.
Led by Damon Jones, a senior research associate at Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center, the study followed 753 individuals for 20 years starting in 1991 when they were kindergartners. The study was conducted in different parts of the U.S.
During this time, they were rated by their teachers on a scale of 0 (“not at all”) to 4 (“very well”) on questions involving their ability to solve peer problems, listen and understand other people’s perspective and feelings, give their opinions without being bossy, share, and help others.
“These are skills that probably portend their ability to do well in school, to pay attention and to navigate their environment,” Jones told The Washington Post.
By the time they reached 25 years old, those who had high ratings were more likely to have a college degree and have full-time jobs compared to those with low ratings who were more likely to have run-ins with the law and problems with addiction.
“For every one-point change on the one-to-five scale, the kids doubled their chances of being successful,” Jones told Yahoo Parenting.
Published in the American Journal of Public Health, the study suggests that social skills, not just cognitive ability, should also be considered as an important factor for success.
1. Create a sociable environment. Desiree Laoang, directress of the Learning Jungle Preschool in Fort Bonifacio, says, “Friendships are formed in an environment conducive to socialization and with the guidance of an adult.”
2. Provide kids with toys that can be shared. Very young children are used to playing alone and having all the toys for themselves. Adults can guide children by teaching them how they can play together and share the toys without fighting.
3. Encourage the children to help each other attain a common goal. A small group of children can work together in solving a puzzle or building a house made with blocks. This will also help them understand the concept of cooperation.
4. Praise children when they exhibit pro-social behavior. Avoid making comments using negative words like selfish, bad, and greedy.
Sources: July 18, 2015. "The Skills That Make Kids More Likely to Grow Up to Be Successful". yahoo.com July 16, 2015. "If you want your children to succeed, teach them to share in kindergarten". washingtonpost.com