Parents, teaching your children to play nice with others and control their tempers should be a top priority, according to a new study by researchers from Harvard University.
The study examined how well 100,000 3- to 4-year-old toddlers were mastering five essential developmental skills in 35 low- and middle-income countries worldwide between 2005 and 2015. These skills included maintaining attention, following directions, getting along with others, working independently and controlling aggressive behavior — measured through the Early Childhood Development Index.
The study found that an estimated one out of three toddlers, 80 million toddlers worldwide, failed to reach at least one of the developmental skills listed above.
According to NPR's report on the study, Dana McCoy, a lead author of the study, found these results concerning. "Previous research has shown that children who are able to meet those milestones well and on time perform better in school, are healthier and more economically productive (as adults)," McCoy told NPR.
Countries with the highest percentage of low-scoring toddlers were Chad (67 percent), Sierra Leone (54.3 percent) and Central African Republic (54.1 percent). The countries with the lowest percentage of low-scoring toddlers were Bosnia (4.4 percent) and Montenegro (4.3 percent).
"Low development scores were largely concentrated in areas of the world facing continued high exposure to risk factors such as infectious disease, malnutrition, poverty and low availability of high-quality health care and educational resources," the authors wrote in the study.
According to Reuters, the child mortality rate has been quickly falling since the 2000s. McCoy explained to Reuters that society's duty is to not only aid children in survival but help them thrive in their cognitive and socioemotional development.
"There are a number of children who are quite resilient and they are able to thrive and so we can and should look to those children as examples of how to really think about development," McCoy told Reuters.