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WATCH: It's Hard To Delay Gratification. Just Ask Cookie Monster

Ask Cookie Monster to demonstrate self-control? Sounds like the setup to a joke. The blue, furry monster we grew up with was pure id.

But in recent years, Cookie has evolved as Sesame Workshop has sharpened its focus on social and emotional skills. Research shows that at least half a child's success is determined by those skills.

Life Kit: Parenting has been looking at strategies for helping kids learn emotional self-regulation and self-control, so we called in Cookie for help.

We put out a plate of his favorite chocolate chippies. He demonstrated key strategies for waiting out or cooling down a "hot" moment of anger, fear or, in this case, temptation!

Here's what Cookie did to keep his monster hands off those sweets — and what you can help your children do to resist temptation and reach their own goals.

  • Take a deep belly breath.
  • Look in a different direction.
  • Focus on the reason you are waiting — for example, a promise to share the cookie with a friend.
  • Distract yourself — for example, with singing.
  • Talk about something else — say, a book you are reading.
  • This video is based on a episode of Life Kit's podcast Raising Awesome Kids. For more audio guides on parenting, subscribe in Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast app.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Anya Kamenetz is an education correspondent at NPR. She joined NPR in 2014, working as part of a new initiative to coordinate on-air and online coverage of learning. Since then the NPR Ed team has won a 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for Innovation, and a 2015 National Award for Education Reporting for the multimedia national collaboration, the Grad Rates project.
    Cory Turner reports and edits for the NPR Ed team. He's helped lead several of the team's signature reporting projects, including "The Truth About America's Graduation Rate" (2015), the groundbreaking "School Money" series (2016), "Raising Kings: A Year Of Love And Struggle At Ron Brown College Prep" (2017), and the NPR Life Kit parenting podcast with Sesame Workshop (2019). His year-long investigation with NPR's Chris Arnold, "The Trouble With TEACH Grants" (2018), led the U.S. Department of Education to change the rules of a troubled federal grant program that had unfairly hurt thousands of teachers.
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