Kids who learn self-control by age 5 become more successful adults

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A study, which spanned three decades, found that kids who learn to wait before getting what they want during the toddler stage lead better adult lives

If you've ever raised a kid (or are currently raising one) through the toddler years, than you can definitely relate to the struggle of teaching your kid to just wait. Self-control can't be taught in an instant, but it can be learned. Guiding your kid to learn patience requires, well...patience.

The first step is acknowledging that waiting isn't exactly your little one's favorite activity. They want what they want and they want it NOW.

Writer and mom Karen Young cited an interesting study out of New Zealand in an article for HeySigmund.com, which basically posits that kids who exhibit self-control by the age of 5 were more likely to grow into healthy and successful adults.

Following kids from birth until they grew to the age of 32, researches found that those with the lowest self-control abilities grew up to have more health problems, lower income, prone to substance abuse, and have a criminal record.

So how can you make sure your kid learns the art of self-control at a young age?

your kid is smarter than average

When you refuse to give them a second cupcake during dessert, for instance, you’re already doing them a favor.

Simply saying NO and delaying gratification is one of the most effective ways to help kids exercise self-control, says Scary Mommy.

You can also play games or offer rewards for patience and working hard towards specific goal, suggests Parenting Science.

Talking with your child is a good way to equip him and her to make difficult choices. What if he’s at school and is offered a sugary snack in the middle of the day? How will he say No? It’s also important not to put too much stress and pressure on them, reminding them that the learning process allows them to make mistakes.

Young suggests urging kids to ask themselves: “What would your future self say?” This not only teaches impulse control, it also encourages kids to reflect and become thinkers, not merely doers.

It’s your job as a parent to guide kids while, as Young puts it, they “safely experiment with the world.”

Remember that their home and school environment and the experiences they have within it largely define their attitude towards the world. Make sure they're good ones.

sources: Scary Mommy, HeySigmund.com, Wiley Online LibraryParentingScience.com

READ: How dealing with toddler tantrums makes you a better person

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