Evidence That It Works
Science has shown that young children receive a boost in positive emotions when giving away something of their own to another.
For example, in one study toddlers were introduced to a puppet that liked treats. Each child was given eight treats for themself and then watched the experimenter give a treat to the puppet. After being asked, children gave one of their own treats to the puppet. Next, the experimenter found a treat and asked the child to give it to the puppet. Researchers found that while the children’s happiness levels increased when they shared a “found” treat, happiness levels were even higher when the children sacrificed their own treat.
Why Does It Matter?
Students who experience greater positive emotions tend to put in more effort to overcome obstacles, engage in classroom activities more, and be less stressed at school. In addition, positive mental health in childhood is linked to educational achievement and professional success later in life.