Social Competence may be Key to a Child’s Future Success

Child's Social Competence in New ZealandKindergartners and toddlers who share, work with others, and are helpful are more likely to go on to college and get a job 20 years later compared to children who lack social skills, this according to a new study.

Children who get along well with others are also less likely to have run-ins with the law or to have substance-abuse problems. The research tracked almost 800 students for two decades, and while it was conducted in the United States, the results are universally applicable.

Friendliness Leads to Success

The study suggests certain social-emotional skills among toddlers can be powerful predictors of how they succeed later in life. This includes the ability to share, cooperate, listen, understand, solve problems, and help peers.

Children who scored “well” on social competence were four times more likely to get a college degree when they reach the age of 25, compared to those who scored “a little”. Those who scored higher overall were more likely to land a full-time job when they reach 25, while respondents who scored on the lower end of the scale were more likely to have run-ins with the law.

Everything Begins at Home

The research does not say the ability to share is a sure path to a smoother or less difficult life. What’s clear is that a child’s upbringing (including learning) does a lot in helping them grow.

Early-childhood education (ECE) programs including kindergarten, play centres, and child care services are great places to help with a child’s development. In New Zealand, it is compulsory for 6-year-olds to 16-year-olds to be in school. Before that, kids often undergo an ECE program, with 95.1% of 5-year-olds participating in licensed programs, as of 2009.

When it comes to child care, Hamilton educators, as well as those from across NZ, believe children learn better through interactions with people, places, and things. Moreover, family, friends, and even the teachers all play a vital role in the development of kids.

The ECE programs and the study support the idea of positive reinforcement in children’s learning. Kids who interact well as youngsters are more likely to make friends and positive feedback from parents and teachers, which make them more likely to like and stay in school.

More than charity, learning and character-building begin at home. There’s the promise that if parents and educators can instil in children good values while they are still young, it will be sustaining. They will not have to worry that good moral character will unravel on their own.

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Candy Visser is an SEO specialist in Washington. She's also a blog writer and product analyst.