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Good Afternoon

Life lessons found in kindergarten

A child walking into kindergarten.

A child walking into kindergarten. Credit: iStock

Join the boy who sits alone at lunch. Share your snacks. Remember kickball is a team sport. Don't hit or scream when you get angry.

With Labor Day upon us and kindergarten starting for many, be sure your child follows these habits -- it'll pay off. A study in the American Journal of Public Health tracked the progress of about 750 kids over 20 years. Researchers found that early social competence coincided with higher college graduation rates, fewer brushes with the law and a greater chance at finding full-time jobs by the time the participants turned 25.

In the study, kindergartners were rated by their teachers on traits such as kindness and sharing. Children scoring highest in social skills were up to four times more likely to become successful adults.

It may sound childish, but sharing your crackers is just as important as making the football team or getting an A.

The author Robert Fulghum explored this territory in his 1989 bestseller, "All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten." Fulghum's collection of essays showed how simple habits like washing hands and playing fair not only stay with you, but also help shape a generally organized and successful life.

Parents and schools all have a responsibility to teach children life skills. Providing help early for the kids who have difficulties makes sense. Interpersonal skills will always be important, and lacking them is a great disadvantage.

Life is a team sport, too.