Helping Young Children to Delay Gratification

Early Childhood Education Journal 06/2008; 35(6):557-564. DOI: 10.1007/s10643-008-0240-9

ABSTRACT The ability to delay gratification (DG) in young children is vital to their later development. Such ability should be taught
as early as possible. One hundred kindergartners (Mean age=6.11), randomly assigned to three groups; a, labeling: received
the treatment of being labeled as “patient” kids; b, story-telling: were read a story about the patient antagonist rewarded
double gifts, while the impulsive character got only one same reward; c, control: received no treatment. Under the DG task
of Ball-Moving Activity, the ANOVA results showed the children in labeling group delayed longer (M=13.23m) than the control
one (M=11.25m), showed marginal significant difference at p=.06, medium effect size magnitude at η2=.06. No significant mean differences were found between the story-telling (M=12.68m) and the control group, though the
story-telling group delayed more than 1min longer than their counterparts. Sex differences on the task are also discussed.

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