The Dessert That Has To Wait

The dessert that has to wait

This interesting and curious test was designed by Doctor Marshmallow. It is an extremely simple test that we have known thanks to the philosopher, professor, pedagogue and essayist Jose Antonio Marina in the Spanish television program conducted by Risto Mejide: “Viajando con Chester”.

The test, as Jose Antonio Marina states, passes many intelligence tests for the accuracy with which it is able to project the academic future of many young people. It is performed on 5-yearold children who are brought into a room and made to sit in front of a basket full of sweets, telling them “You can eat them while I’m not there, but if you wait for me to come back, in addition to eating them, you I will give a gift ”.

This simple gesture is a great way to measure discipline, the reward that comes from effort, persistence, patience, etc. The children who underwent the marshmallow test and whose behavior was then monitored for another 16 years perfectly confirmed the expectations predicted by the test.

Children who ate candy without waiting for the adult to return tended to have worse academic results or dropped out earlier than those who at age 5 had waited for the adult to return before eating the candy.

What can we do to make our children more disciplined

Learning to be responsible and disciplined helps us to gradually learn to be more autonomous, to have greater emotional stability and, consequently, greater maturity.

How can we contribute to the development of discipline in our children?

  1. Begin to instill discipline in them from birth. Put them to bed and always feed them at the same time. It is also important to talk a lot to your children as soon as they are born, so as to allow them to grow in greater security.

2.  Establish house rules. Children must learn from an early age that there are certain rules to follow; it is extremely important that they learn to recognize that there are always limits in life, even if this does not mean that there are no special days such as birthdays, Christmas, the weekend in the grandparents’ house, or days when rules can be set temporarily aside.

3. Give them responsibilities based on their age. Collect toys, help clear away, clean the house …

4. Positive reinforcements. Children should always be stimulated with positive, never negative phrases. “I know that you are a good child and that you will do it perfectly well,” for example.

5. Establish good communication with your child. He must feel that he can count on you, that you love him, that you congratulate him when he does something well. It is also good to negotiate with him, that he does not believe that he can do everything he wants, but not even that he lives in a constant dictatorship. You will thus contribute to strengthening his self-esteem and encourage him to continue doing things right, to make decisions with the consent of other people and in a responsible way.

6. Explain to him the why of things. If you explain to him that brushing his teeth does not give him cavities or that fastening the seat belts in the car helps to avoid accidents, he will understand the situation better and understand that life has a “why” and is not based only on “why. I say so”.

7. Help him with examples. There is no better teaching than example. Do what you preach and your speech will be credible.

With this article we wanted to pay homage to Jose Antonio Marina, one of the best thinking minds on the Spanish scene.

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