PRESCHOOL KIDS CAN HAVE FUN BUILDING THE CRUCIAL LIFE SKILL OF SELF-REGULATION, RESEARCH SHOWS
by Amy Wang / January 6, 2015
The best predictor of kids’ academic success might not be how many letters they recognize by age 3 or how high they can count by age 4, but how willing they are to persist at challenging tasks and how well they plan ahead, pay attention, remember and follow instructions, and control their impulses and emotions.
These so-called executive functions, also known collectively as self-regulation or self-control, have long been considered a key life skill. Self-control is among seven essential life skills taught to children in the national Mind in the Making project, and the importance of self-regulation is a key theme in “Age of Opportunity,” a book about the adolescent brain published in September by Laurence Steinberg, a Temple University psychology professor who is a leading expert on adolescence.
Megan McClelland, the Katherine E. Smith Endowed Professor in Child Development at Oregon State and a co-author of the study, said a person’s self-regulation skills can help predict his or her likelihood of college completion and adult criminality, as well as his or her health and wealth outcomes – even when adjusting for factors such as innate intelligence and parents’ educational levels.
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