Helping young children to delay gratification

Pai Lin Lee, William Lan, Chiao Li Wang, Hsiu Yueh Chiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The ability to delay gratification (DG) in young children is vital to their later development. Such ability should be taught as early as possible. One hundred kindergartners (Mean age = 6.11), randomly assigned to three groups; a, labeling: received the treatment of being labeled as "patient" kids; b, story-telling: were read a story about the patient antagonist rewarded double gifts, while the impulsive character got only one same reward; c, control: received no treatment. Under the DG task of Ball-Moving Activity, the ANOVA results showed the children in labeling group delayed longer (M = 13.23 m) than the control one (M = 11.25 m), showed marginal significant difference at p = .06, medium effect size magnitude at η2 = .06. No significant mean differences were found between the story-telling (M = 12.68 m) and the control group, though the story-telling group delayed more than 1 min longer than their counterparts. Sex differences on the task are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-564
Number of pages8
JournalEarly Childhood Education Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Delay of gratification
  • Early childhood development
  • Labeling
  • Story-telling


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