Children put more effort into reaching goals when adults set a good example []

September 10, 2019

By Chrissy Sexton staff writer

In a new study published by the Society for Research in Child Development, experts have found that children are taking notice of how adults face challenges and the amount of effort they are willing to put into reaching their goals.

The research suggests that these actions, along with the words of encouragement adults may use, have a significant effect on persistence among children

“Our work shows that young children pay attention to the successes and failures of the adults around them and, reasonably, don’t persist long at tasks that adults themselves fail to achieve,” said study lead author Julia A. Leonard of the University of Pennsylvania. “However, we found that when adults could complete a task successfully, speaking about the value of the effort and letting children see the hard work that went into achieving the goal, it encouraged persistence in children who were watching.”

The investigation was focused on 520 children between the ages of four and five years old from a range of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. The researchers wanted to examine how their level of persistence may be affected by their observations of adults’ actions, such as how much effort they put into a task and whether they succeeded or failed...

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