Study: Children develop self-esteem younger than previously thought

Study: Children develop self-esteem younger than previously thought

JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - Research from the University of Washington suggests some kids can have an adult level sense of self by the time they reach preschool.

Researchers at the University of Washington found children as young as five can have self-esteem levels that match adults.

The results of the study doesn't come as a surprise to Jackson preschool teacher Susan Todt.

"If you were just to come in and observe the kids," the Big Stuff Preschool and Child Care owner said. "You would see just how they interact with each other."

The study presented more than 200 five-year-olds with positive words like "happy" and "nice" and negative words like "mean" and "mad."

They asked the preschoolers to choose which words related to them.

More children associated with good words than bad. That told researchers the children had an overall positive sense of self.

"They can tell other friends that were upset of were happy and you can tell by their actions," Todt said.

Researchers say they're next step will be to see how early self-esteem development affects the kids later in life.

Todt said the results just go to show how important positive reinforcement can be.

"They are so young and we think they can't do things, and really they can do a lot."

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