Have the kids all day every day for the summer? Chances are, it takes a little work to keep them busy and occupied. If you’ve noticed younger children often really fidget a ton, or just plain seem to move around a great deal, you aren’t alone. Parents in a recent — and very adorable — study experience the same phenomenon, too.
Little ones were asked to do one simple task: hold still. But when temptation arose in the form of toys, candy, puppies, and ice cream, some just couldn’t resist. Others managed to hold out for the prize.
So, what’s actually happening here?
Science has the answer.
Younger kids lack a fully developed frontal cortex, which is the area of the brain responsible for planning and delaying gratification. They experience intense impulse and often want the reward right away. At the very least, they hate to wait.
Like any other skill, there are differences between children. Some are inherently more patient, while others have a hard time holding out. You’ll be happy to hear both are perfectly normal!
Whether it’s presents sitting under the Christmas tree or cupcakes on the countertop, some kids will ask for you to cave in a hundred times before you reluctantly accept. Don’t be too hard on yourself or them — that’s just how the young brain develops.