Preschoolers who pay attention more likely to finish college, study says

LOS ANGELES

Psychologist Stephanie Marcy of Children's Hospital Los Angeles says the big push to teach academics in preschool can hurt a child's chances of getting a higher degree.

"Social skills in preschool are probably the more important skill than the academics," Marcy said.

Surprisingly, achievement in reading or math was not a significant predictor of whether a child completed college, the study said. Instead, researchers found parents who rated their kids on having a good attention span and persistence at age 4 had a 50 percent greater chance of getting a bachelor's degree by age 25.

Attention and persistence skills can be taught. Experts say parents need to slow down and stop rushing and give kids time to complete a task. Marcy says toys like blocks and Play-Doh challenge kids, unlike electronic toys that often offer instant gratification.

"What you really want is for them to have a good time and to think that learning stuff is great fun," said Dr. Anita Britt also of Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.