Do adults still encourage circle time and other traditional ritual activities for kids? For many, these might seem no longer important these days as children are exposed to other types of play and learning methods. For parents who want to raise mindful children, however, there is still value in letting a child participate in such activities.
Rituals help a child improve her ability when it comes to delaying gratification, according to a study published in the journal Child Development. It is what sharpens the child's self-control, which will eventually help with her executive functioning and mental agility. These are vital skills that will, in turn, help a child make good decisions or keep with tasks successfully as an adult.
Experts from the University of Oxford studied 7-year-old and 8-year-old kids in two groups from Slovakia and Vanuatu for the study. They were made to undergo the Marshmallow Test to gauge self-control and they were also asked to complete other tests to gauge their executive functioning.
One group of kids were also asked to participate in circle times and rituals for 35 minutes twice a week, where they were asked to follow dance moves and exercises, or listen to lectures for three months. The children were again asked to take executive function and self-control tests after.
The experts saw the children who were subjected to circle times presented superior improvements, more so for those who saw the activities as rituals, according to The British Psychological Society. In other words, while circle time could be seen as a mindless task, it's actually shaping the kids mentally.
"Far from being a simple matter of 'mindless' copying, ritual participation arguably requires the kind of rigorous computation of arbitrary detail," the study authors noted. The experts aren't suggesting circle time and other ritual activities as "absolutely critical," according to Mind Body Green. Adults, however, can consider doing this from time to time especially when kids are so exposed to instant gratification from technology.