The ability to delay gratification in childhood is associated with better developmental outcomes. Today’s parents tend to think they were better at delaying gratification as children than their own kids are. According to this article, research indicates just the opposite. Today’s young children are better at it than were their parents and their grandparents. This should help with two things.
One, it should help parents feel more positive toward their kids. Being positive towards a child is associated with better developmental outcomes. Two, it suggests that preschool has long-term benefits. Preschools emphasize such things as sharing, not interrupting, and waiting your turn. Improvements in delaying gratification may be the result of more kids going to preschool these days than did their parents and grandparents.
Caveat: As the article points out, the research was done only with white children from more affluent and educated families. We have to also do these studies on a more diverse population.
Written by Regina Pally, Co-Director, CRC