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Study Finds Kids Who Play Well with Others Are More Likely to Succeed When They Grow Up

Study Finds Kids Who Play Well with Others Are More Likely to Succeed When They Grow Up

Everyone knows that it is important to be social than asocial, but a scientific study has shown how important social behavior and play can be from an early age.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, aimed to look at the importance of noncognitive compared to cognitive skills of problem solving and academic abilities. Past studies have shown that there is not much correlation with high levels of cognitive ability “measured through IQ or test scores alone” and workplace success.

However, noncognitive skills, such as self-control and positive attitudes, do have a correlation. As the researchers observed, “a key characteristic of noncognitive ability in young children is social competence.” The researchers decided to analyze young children’s social ability and see how it correlated towards their eventual development.

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In 1991, kindergarten teachers in four locations spread out over the United States ranked over 750 of their students on social ability with a scale of 1 to 5. These scales included measurements such as “cooperates with peers without prompting,” “is helpful to others,” and “very good at understanding feelings.”

For the next 19 years, the researchers kept track of the students using self-reported information, information from teachers and parents, and court records. Among other factors, they looked for records of substance abuse, arrests, and employment and educational background.

At the end of the 19 years, the researchers found that those children who ranked higher on the social ability scale as kindergarteners were more likely to have obtained a college degree, attained full-time employment, and run a successful company. They were less likely to be dependent on alcohol or have a criminal record compared to children who ranked lower. This supported previous research that examined long-term prediction of the importance of noncognitive skills.

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As a caution, the researchers noted that this single study is not enough to declare that an absolute relation between early child social development and general success in life. But it is clear that a child’s noncognitive abilities are just as important, if not more so, than his problem-solving abilities.

What does it all mean?

So what do the results of this study mean for parents? It means that parents should consider re-prioritizing the importance of their child’s social and emotional development.

Parents take their children out to activities and camps to improve their intelligence, or give them skills which may be useful on a college application. But the most important thing that a parent can give a child is not necessarily additional piano lessons. It is the ability and opportunity to play with other children — a skill which will improve their social skills and their lives.

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The importance of play is something which researchers have known for some time. A 2007 study declared that “play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth.” In addition to the physical benefits of play, undirected play helps children gain independence and learn about the importance of group activities.

But this does not mean that parents can let their children loose among other children and call it a day. That carries the risk of referred to as a “negative development spiral.” If a child ends up rejected by his peers, he may decide to become more isolated. This makes the child less likely to cooperate with his peers, which means that he will experience further rejection, leading to a dangerous spiral of isolation and rejection.

In addition to the risk of isolation and rejection, another problem is that one child may choose to learn from another who is not “well-behaved”. This can lead to anti-social behavior which will hurt the child’s emotional development over the long run.

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Because of this, a strong parent-child bond is necessary. Parents have to keep an eye on their child to monitor social development. However, parents also have to ensure that they do not end up smothering the child in the process — instead, allowing them to play with their peers in a healthy manner.

Staying “close, but not too close” is an incredibly challenging process, and every parent will make mistakes doing this. But in a world where parents have become too focused on developing “skills” which do not truly help the child, a focus on total emotional development is a great step towards rearing a well-developed, stable adult.

Featured photo credit: David Robert Bliwas via flickr.com

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Published on July 15, 2019

10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

Habits are an important part of the direction you take your life, and — as I’ll share with you shortly — there are certain daily habits you can adopt right away that are guaranteed to improve your life.

Think back to when you were just six or seven years old…

At that age you probably didn’t have many habits. But, as the years went by, you picked up more and more good and bad habits.

You may not have thought about it before, but habit forming never really stops.

That’s why it’s never too late to change your habits and transform your life.

So, if you feel burdened by your bad habits, start kicking them into shape by replacing them with these 10 positive, life-changing strategies:

1. Go to Bed a Little Earlier and Wake up Earlier 

Starting tonight, get yourself to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. And, then make sure you get up tomorrow morning 30 minutes earlier, too. This small change can have a BIG impact on your day. 

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Instead of furiously rushing in the morning to get ready for work, the extra time will give you a golden opportunity to start your day off on the right note. You can drink a smoothie while sitting on your porch, spend 10 minutes exercising and stretching, and still have time to read a few pages of an inspiring book.

2. Be Grateful for the Good Things in Your Life 

Setbacks and obstacles are inevitable in life. But, with a positive mindset, you’ll be able to overcome most of these. And, when you do, you’ll boost your self-confidence. 

This is something you can definitely be grateful for. 

However, if worst-case scenarios are playing out in your life, then sometimes, to stay strong, you’ll need to keep your mind on the good things that are happening to you. For example, your relationship with your partner might be crumbling, but your career is continuously getting stronger. It’d be easy to feel downtrodden and miserable about your relationship problems —  but, it would be much healthier to keep your mind and gratitude on these things that are going well, such as your career.

3. Drink Water All Day Every Day 

I’m sure you’ve heard the advice of drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, but are you following that advice? If not, you’re robbing your body and mind of essential hydration. 

With the right amount of water intake a day, you’ll be amazed how good you feel — and how good you look!

4. Take 15 Minutes to Set Goals for the Day, and Then Tackle Them One by One 

This strategy will put your life into a new stratosphere! And, it’s very simple to do. 

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Simply spend 15 minutes in the morning (either at home or at work) planning what you need and want to achieve during the rest of the day. Once you’ve listed your tasks, the next step is to put them into order of priority. 

For instance, you have three things to do: catch up with your emails, write a project update, and prepare a briefing for your CEO. It’s best if you put these in order of importance. In this example, your emails can probably wait until you’ve created your CEO brief and updated your project documentation.

5. Turn Off Your Cell Phone (or Put it on Airplane Mode) When You’re Focusing 

A 2012 study found that even looking at a cell phone or feeling it vibrate in your pocket can significantly distract focus and reduce your ability to complete complex tasks.[1]

It’s no surprise really, as our thoughts are subconsciously drawn towards checking our phones when they’re switched on. It’s a bad habit — but one that most of us have. However, when you need 100% focus (like I do when writing my articles), then switching your phone off, or at least putting it into airplane mode, will free your mind and supercharge your focus. Try it and see!

6. Walk as Much as You Can 

Have you noticed that most people’s lives are sedentary? They drive to work, sit in front of a screen all day, then drive home and binge on the latest Netflix series. It’s no wonder there’s a growing epidemic of obesity and mental health issues. 

Our bodies are made to move — so we should move them! This can be as simple as walking up the stairs to your office instead of taking the elevator, and going out for a walk around the block at lunchtime. In the evening, instead of arriving home and crashing on the sofa; spend 20 to 30 minutes walking around your block.

When you make these things a habit, you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel. You’ll have less stress — and more energy.

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7. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

How often do you stop, think and appreciate the “here and now”? I’m guessing not very often. But, I understand why. Modern life is demanding and fast-paced. There’s precious little time to appreciate the small things. 

But, if you want to live a healthy and happy life, you must break out of this trap. You can do this by allocating 15 to 30 minutes each day for mindful meditation. This could be in a park, in your garden, or even in your lounge. The trick is to focus 100% on your surroundings. 

For example, if you’re outside, watch how the leaves on the trees blow around in the wind. By keeping your focus on this movement, you’ll clear your mind from your usual stresses and strains. This will give you brain a much-needed break. And, as well as improving your mental health; you’ll find your creativity gets a boost, too.

8. Ask for Help When You Need It 

No one can know or do everything. Which is why you shouldn’t be embarrassed to delegate tasks to others when needed, ask questions when you don’t have the answers, and work with partners and colleagues to clarify intentions. 

When I first set up Lifehack, I tried to do everything myself: blog writing, website creation, marketing, financial planning, etc. However, I quickly learned that it was much better to hire some help. Not only did this inject some fresh ideas and inspiration into Lifehack — it also made the whole operation way more enjoyable!

9. Practice Self Care 

Are you looking after yourself as well as you should? If not, then take steps to improve your diet, exercise more, and to speak to yourself with encouraging words and thoughts. 

The latter suggestion is often overlooked. But how you speak to yourself determines how you feel, what you believe, and what you achieve.

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10. Embrace Learning 

You cannot transform your life without learning something new. That’s because the process of change forces you to adapt. But, many people stop learning as they get older, as they find the learning process boring and bothersome. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be fun and rewarding. 

Whether you decide to learn to play guitar or study the basics of accounting — embrace learning, and begin changing your world for the better.

I’m sure you’ll agree that these 10 strategies are simple enough for you to start putting them into action in your life. (I suggest you begin today!) 

Nevertheless, you’ll probably need to use some extra willpower for the first 30 days or so, as this is the typical length of time it takes to create a new habit. After that, these strategies will be part of your day-to-day life, and you won’t need to think about having to do them. In other words, they’ll have become habitual actions.

If you need any further encouragement to get started with the 10 strategies, then consider this:

Even just adopting one of the strategies can turn the tide in your favor. But, when you implement all 10, you’ll create an unstoppable trend towards success, health and happiness.

So start making your life better — today!

Featured photo credit: Javier Garcia via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Deborah R. Tindell and Robert W. Bohlander, Wilkes University: The Use and Abuse of Cell Phones and Text Messaging in the Classroom: A Survey of College Students

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