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Structured play helps toddlers self-regulate, altering their life course – Otago study

March 29, 2019 at 1:11 PM

From the University of Otago

Through simple games and day-to-day tasks, parents can help their children learn self-regulation, a skill considered essential for success, a University of Otago study has found.

Lead author Dr Dione Healey, of the Department of Psychology, says self-regulation is a key early developmental skill that predicts a wide array of life outcomes.

“Self-regulation is essential for school readiness and success as you need to be able to sit still, not blurt out answers, persist with tasks, manage frustrations, and give and take in social relationships.

“We also know that early self-regulatory skills are predictive of adult outcomes. The Dunedin longitudinal study has shown that poor self-regulatory skills at age three predict a wide array of adverse adult outcomes including higher rates of incarceration, poorer physical health, higher unemployment rates, and mental health difficulties.

“Therefore if we can find ways to improve self-regulation in pre-schoolers we can alter the life course trajectory for many individuals,” she says.

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Category: Research