A recent study using self-distancing a psychological technique was performed to discover if the technique could increase perseverance and determination in young children. Perseverance is developed at different stages for different individuals such as early school years, teen years, and young adult. On the other hand, some individuals struggle with this their entire lives. Perseverance is the ability to regulate one’s self, keep distractions away, and stay on target with intentions and goals.
The earlier this skill is developed the better. On the other hand, children that are young are easily distracted therefore perseverance can be difficult for them to master.
A recent study showed that using self-distancing, a psychological technique children between the ages of four and six were able to keep going for a much longer amount of time especially if Dora the Explorer and Batman were added to the self-distancing technique.
The Reason Why
Self-distancing is done by thinking of oneself as if they were an outsider and using the point of view of a third person. The shift to this third person idea is not only a cognitive one but can also relieve us from our emotions at the moment which allows a better ability to self-regulate which is very important for keeping on track and having perseverance.
During the study, the children were given a sorting task on a computer that was boring. When they became bored they were given the chance to have a break and play a game on an iPad. The reason in allowing a break was to see how long the children would stay on the task instead of taking breaks to play a game.
The children were placed into three different groups. The control group was told to ask themselves one question while doing the task which was, “Am I working hard?” For the children in the third person group, the question was using their name in the same question instead of using I. The last group was allowed to use Rapunzel, Bob the Builder, Dora the Explorer, and Batman in place of I or their name.
The children that used their name stated at the task longer than the ones that used “I”, while those that used the name of one of the characters lasted even longer.
The results of the study showed that by distancing themselves from the task at hand allowed the children to be a bit disengaged in distractions, temptations, or negative emotions. Allowing children to dress up while doing tasks or homework will give them a boost of confidence.
Of course, parents or even therapist that wish to work with young children must ensure that the child identifies with the character and the character is one that shows perseverance.
Working with a Bentonville therapist can help your child learn how to study in a progressive manner without all the distractions.
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