In a new study, a comprehensive 20-year examination of 800 children from kindergarten through their mid-20s published in the American Journal of Public Health, found a link between a child’s social skills in kindergarten and how well they were doing in early adulthood.
Children who were helpful and shared in kindergarten were more likely to have graduated college and have a full-time job at age 25. The children who had problems resolving conflicts, sharing, cooperating and listening as kindergartners were less likely to have finished high school and college, and were more likely to have substance abuse problems and run-ins with the law.
The findings are “huge” when it comes to the thinking about how brain health impacts a person’s overall health, said Kristin Schubert, program director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the research.
Here are some things you can do to help your child if they are having problems in pre-school or kindergarten:
- Ask the teacher to pair them with compatible peers
- Encourage your child to share
- Do not “punish” them by keeping them away from play time; rather :”teach” them by having them work on a project with a peer
- Don’t worry about the academics; most kids catch up before long
- Old fashioned games like: Red Light/Green Light, Simon Says and Freeze tag are great for teaching emotional and physical control
For every one-point increase in a child’s social competency score in kindergarten, they were twice as likely to obtain a college degree, and 46% more likely to have a full-time job by age 25.