In the 1960’s & 70’s Stanford came up with a great little test about delayed gratification. They took a whole bunch of 4 year olds, put a marshmallow in front of them, and watched how long they could go without eating it. The video below is a recreation of that test and is fun to watch.
After you watch the video I’ll tell you how to determine how successful your kids will be in life.
Test Your Own Kids
Take a marshmallow or cookie or something tasty that they really like and recreate the experiment. Tell them that they will get two of whatevers if they wait.
If you can, put them somewhere where you can see them but they can’t see you. And then watch what they do.
Stanford followed the kids from 1972 all the way through college and found out that those who are able to delay gratification longer ended up being better adjusted, more dependable, and, as high school students, scored significantly greater grades in the Collegiate Scholastic Aptitude Test.
Teach Your Kids
All kids have a hard time with delayed gratification. The good news is YOU CAN TEACH IT TO THEM. Delayed gratification is one of the best skills anyone can learn. (How well do you do by the way?).
If you son or daughter can make it 5 minutes the first time, then play the game the next day and make him wait 6 minutes, then 7 the next day, and 8 the next, etc… until you build that internal resilience within them. Make it a game. Don’t be boring or heavy handed. When they know that eventually they will get what they want they’ll be able to practice better self control and self discipline starting at a very young age.