The Road to Success

What is the thing that we want most for our children? It sounds like a big question, but the answer most parents agree with is pretty simple. Success.

Success can be defined broadly or specifically.  We want our children to succeed at sports. We want our children to succeed in math. We want our children to succeed in school. We want our children to succeed in college. We want our children to succeed in their chosen professions. We want our children to experience successful interpersonal relationships. We want our children to succeed in raising their very own happy, healthy families. Generally, we want our children to succeed in life, however we define that.

Well, lucky for us, we are living at a time when there is a lot of research being done to help parents understand what we can do, especially during the early years of development, to help our children succeed in life. In her article titled, The Skill that Will Help Your Child Get into College, OSU child development expert, Megan McClelland explains that, “Those early years make up a critical period when a young child is learning essential skills such as how to interact well with others, follow directions, and follow through on a task. These skills may be more even more important for long-term educational attainment than the ability to add and subtract.” She goes on to explain how her research shows that a child’s “ability to pay attention, focus, and persist on a task at age four increased the odds of [the child] completing college by age 25 by nearly 50 percent” and what parents can do to encourage development in these areas from a very young age. Some of the activities she suggests include: playing games such as Red-Light-Green-Light, Simon Says, and dancing. Many of the games that we remember fondly from our own childhood provide wonderful opportunities to develop the skills that McClelland identifies in her research. Additionally, as I have mentioned in previous blogs, the time we spend playing with our children gives us opportunities to bond and build fond memories with them.

For more details about helping your child develop the skills for success check out the link to McClelland’s article mentioned above.