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Kind Children Happier and Popular With Peers: Study

Dec 31, 2012 06:29 AM EST

A new study claims that kind children are happier and more popular with their peer groups.

A team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside, carried out an experiment with 400 children in the age group of nine to 11, from Vancouver elementary schools in Canada.

The children were split into two groups. One group was asked to perform and note down three acts of kindness every week for a period of four weeks. Some of the kind acts included "Gave my mom a hug when she was stressed by her job" and "gave someone some of my lunch," reports BBC.

The other group was asked to keep note of the pleasant places, like play grounds and shopping centers, which they visited each week.

At the end of four weeks, the research team asked the students to report on how happy they were and choose students who they would like to team up with while participating in school activities.

They found that the children from both the groups were happy. But, the children who performed acts of kindness were found to be more popular with their peers in schools, as they were selected by other classmates who wanted to work with them, a report in LiveScience said.

"You can do this very simple intervention that not only increases happiness but makes kids like each other more in the classroom," researcher Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, a developmental psychologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, told LiveScience.

Schonert-Reichl and his colleagues suggest that simple activities like this could help in developing positive relationships among children. Such positive activities would also help students get along with their classmates, thus preventing or reducing instances of bullying, they said.

The findings of the study appear online in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

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