Wearing a Superman Cape can help Preschoolers!

Newsflash: A study by Karina Chung and Aryanne de Silva at Wellesley College found that wearing a Superman cape and hearing about his fantastic abilities made preschoolers better able to delay gratification!

Loads of research shows the pretend play promotes prosocial behaviors in children.  According to the current Early Development Index (EDI) report, 62% of our Orange County kindergartners are lacking adequate prosocial behaviors. Prosocial behaviors are those centered around helping one another and being able to see things from another person’s perspective.  This is essential for school success and for happiness in life. Pretend City has opened up a new Super Powers exhibit which will run through the summer and it is designed to support the development of prosocial behaviors. This will be a summer filled with Super Power activities at the museum and ideas to take home.

Here are seven ways for parents to support the development and broadening of prosocial behavior and strong character building though superhero pretend play:

  1. 1. Discuss and emphasize the positive character traits that enable superheroes to help others. Climbing up the side of a building like Spiderman wouldn’t be important without his main super power – Helping.
  2. 2. Become better acquainted with those superhero characters your child likes best and during quiet times, talk about the positive traits they display.
  3. 3. Provide natural, found and other materials that children can use to make superhero props and clothing. Making a cape or a shield with symbols of super powers such as kindness, patience, tolerance, giving, and courage allows children to identify their own strengths. This might progress into the creation a personal insignia for your child (using letters from their name and symbols of their powers) that reinforces the positive character traits your child displays.
  4. 4. After identifying super powers that your child has, take every opportunity to point out when he or she is displaying these powers. The more that children identify with a superhero for all the right reasons, the more your child is developing strong character traits and learning prosocial behaviors.
  5. 5. Talk about other people’s super powers and point out when they are using them. The more children identify positive character traits in themselves and others, the more they will strive to exemplify them in their everyday life.
  6. 6. Set limits on how much rough play children can participate in while playing as a superhero. Sometimes superhero play can escalate into just another chance to do battle.  Keep the roughness to a minimum by suggesting a play scenario. Suggest that there is a problem that needs to be solved and challenge your superhero to solve it using their super powers for good.
  7. 7. Refer to different superhero weapons as tools so that children can begin to understand the reasoning behind using them for good. Keep the focus on the character traits as super powers.

Fun Find: This is a post I found online that lists the top ten superheroes who demonstrate positive character traits.  So, along the line of “know your superheroes” it might be fun to take a look!  https://www.popmythology.com/top-10-superheroes/

 Linda Hunter


Newsflash: Only 38% of OC kindergarteners tested ready for KindergartenHarvard Study Finds that Good Posture Relieves Stress