Kindergartners Who Can Pay Attention May Reap Benefits Later

SATURDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Children who are attentive in kindergarten are likely to have "work-oriented" skills in higher grades, which provides lifelong benefits, according to a new study.

It included more than 1,000 children whose attention skills were assessed in kindergarten. As they moved from first to sixth grade, the children were rated on how well they worked alone and with others, their levels of self-control and self-confidence, and their ability to follow directions and rules.

Over time, the children were categorized into three groups: high, medium or low classroom engagement. Boys, aggressive children and children with lower cognitive skills in kindergarten were much more likely to be in the low group, according to the University of Montreal researchers.

"There are important life risks associated with attention deficits in childhood, which include high-school dropout, unemployment and problematic substance abuse," study author Linda Pagani said in a university news release. "Our findings make a compelling case for early identification and treatment of attention problems, as early remediation represents the least costly form of intervention."

The study was published online recently in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.

"For children, the classroom is the workplace, and this is why productive, task-oriented behavior in that context later translates to the labor market," Pagani said. "Children who are more likely to work autonomously and harmoniously with fellow classmates, with good self-control and confidence, and who follow directions and rules are more likely to continue such productive behaviors into the adult workplace. In child psychology, we call this the developmental evolution of work-oriented skills, from childhood to adulthood."

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers 10 tips for your child's success in school.

SOURCE: University of Montreal, news release, Jan. 30, 2012

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