Expert Cites Link Between Kids Who Get Along With Others and Learning

Dr. Gary Ladd, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Illinois, says that getting along with others is not just good manners; for children, it’s an important part of learning and child development.

In fact, Ladd says that studies regularly show that kids who play well with others do better in school than those who don’t get along. One reason:  When kids get along and play well with others in his or her classroom, they become more excited about, and engaged in, school work.

Dr. Ladd says that one of the most important elements for children’s learning is engagement, because if they don’t actively participate in classroom activities and learn to work with others, they won’t learn as much as the children who do interact.

Ladd notes that even early grades, kids don’t feel that school is necessarily all that fun.  But, he says, the difference in those who find school fun and those who don’t is that one group finds fun in playing with other kids, while others don’t and he / she finds a supportive classroom atmosphere.

Dr. Ladd encourages parents to help their boys and girls improve in school by making sure their social skills are up to par.  He says parents should watch their kids as they play with other kids.  If there are any problems or conflicts with the other children, then use that as an opportunity to teach your children how to resolve differences, Ladd says.

An example that Dr. Ladd gives:  if you see your kid shove his way into the front of the line, speak with him in a calm manner, and ask how he or she would feel if someone did that to them?  Ask if they would want to play with someone who did something like that.  Many kids, when confronted in this way, will change their behavior. Sometimes, he says, it’s also helpful to encourage the child to watch other kids at play together, and to invite them to mimic any positive behavior that they observe. And most child development experts agree with that advice.

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