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Soft skills in children predict future earnings

Chances are that you have heard about the “marshmallow test.” Put a marshmallow in front of a child and give them two choices: eat it now or wait 15 minutes and get two. According to this study, children that resist immediate temptation and use self-control to delay gratification and wait for the second marshmallow have better academic, social and health outcomes years later.


Now a new study* published in June in Canada on almost 3000 people who were followed up for 30 years shows that there is a strong association between childhood behaviour and adult earning. Children rated as “prosocial” by their teachers—such as being kind, helpful, cooperative and considerate—earned more. On the other hand, children that lacked attentiveness or that were aggressive or in opposition had lower earnings at age 33 to 35.


The good news is that personality traits are not fixed; they can be learnt, practised and enhanced. Experimental studies show that home and school-based programs can reduce inattentive and disruptive behaviours and enhance prosocial traits through perspective taking, relationship management, and social and emotional training.

This is why it is so important to focus on the development of children’s social skills: their ability to have empathy, the way they communicate with their peers, their ability to cooperate, to listen and to work in teams.


At Fabulogram, our mission is to develop children’s emotional intelligence and social skills so that they develop the tools they need to create the future they want. We have just launched a new Notebook to help children develop "Super Social Skills", click here to find out about it.


*Association Between Childhood Behaviors and Adult Employment Earnings in Canada, Francis Vergunst, DPhilRichard Tremblay, PhD; Daniel Nagin, PhD; et al, published June 2019

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