The Science of Delayed Gratification: How to Set Up Your Child for Success

Do you practice delayed gratification in your daily life?

What about your family? Does your partner practice delayed gratification?

Do your children understand the concept of delayed gratification and how it can help them?

If the answer is no, read this article to learn about how delayed gratification can benefit your family. 

What is delayed gratification?

The capacity to resist the temptation of an immediate reward and instead wait for a later, more valuable reward is known as delayed gratification.

It is an essential life skill that can support children in academic, professional, and personal aspects.

marshmallow test

One of the most well-known — and delicious —  studies on delayed gratification is the marshmallow experiment.

Preschoolers were given a choice between eating one marshmallow now or two marshmallows later. 

Researchers discovered that the children who waited and got two marshmallows tended to have better life outcomes in adulthood including higher SAT scores and lower levels of obesity.

Why is it important for children to learn delayed gratification

Delayed gratification is essential for a variety of reasons. 

It can improve academic success. According to studies, children who can delay gratification perform better on tests and in school. They also have a higher likelihood of finishing college.

successful business woman

Delaying gratification increases one's chances of getting higher-paying jobs and enjoying successful careers in general. Delaying gratification helps people maintain healthier relationships, feel better about themselves, and succeed in their personal goals.

Educating your child about the value of delayed gratification can help set them up for success. It is an essential life skill that will benefit them in their studies, careers, and personal relationships.

The science behind delayed gratification

The relationship between self-regulation and success in life is supported by research. The capacity to delay gratification is associated with improved academic performance, a decline in delinquency, and improved physical health.

Self-regulation is the foundation of delayed gratification. Self-regulation is the capacity to manage one's feelings, ideas, and actions. It enables us to accomplish our objectives and lead fulfilling lives.

Goal setting and impulse control are the two fundamental parts of self-regulation. The capacity to withstand temptation and postpone gratification is known as impulse control. The capacity to set and achieve goals is known as goal setting.

How can parents help their children practice delayed gratification

Helping your child practice delayed gratification is key.

How to help your child through their journey: 
Parents can model self-regulation. This means teaching children how to develop and accomplish goals and resist temptation.

  1. Parents can help their children develop a growth mindset. Teaching children that intelligence is not set and that it can be improved through effort.

  2. Children can practice self-regulation with the help of their parents. For example, you might open a savings account for them or assign chores in exchange for money.

  3. Commend children when they exhibit self-control. This will encourage them to keep up these habits.
  1. Parents can explain the value of delaying gratification to help kids realize its importance and use.

How can you tell if your child has mastered delayed gratification

Look for these signs to determine if your child has mastered delayed gratification:

  1. They set and accomplish objectives such as putting money aside for a gift or performing well in school.
  1. They have the ability to withstand pressure. This implies that they will be able to wait for what they truly want rather than caving into every whim.
  1. They are  growth-oriented. They believe intelligence is not fixed and that it can be improved.
  1. They can control their anger. They can persevere until they reach their goal despite challenges.
  1. They see things objectively. They understand the view points of others and examine problems from different perspectives.

How to celebrate your child's success in understanding delayed gratification

There are many ways to celebrate your child's success.

  1. Commend their accomplishment and let them know how and why you are proud you are of them.
  2. Take a bike ride together or a walk in the park.
  3. Explore a bookstore and find a book together.

Celebrating your child's success is an important part of parenting. It helps them feel appreciated and motivated to continue using their new skills. Find a way to celebrate your child's success in mastering delayed gratification and watch them thrive in life!

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