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Playmates Affect Kids’ Personality

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Friendships in childhood begin as concrete relationships based on pleasurable experiences. As children grow-up, friendships evolve into a more abstract concept, one based upon mutual consideration and psychological satisfaction.

It is important “does your kid pick up habits and traits of classmates quickly?,” According to a study, “When preschoolers spend time around one another, they tend to take on each others,”. The study suggests personality is shaped by environment and not just genes. The study finding differs from the common assumptions that personality is ingrained and can’t be changed.

This is important because some personality traits can help children succeed in life, while others can hold them back. Experts studied two preschool classes for an entire school year, analyzing personality traits and social networks for one class of 3-year-olds and one class of 4-year-olds. Children whose play partners were extroverted or hard-working became similar to these peers over time. Children whose play partners were overanxious and easily frustrated, however, did not take on these particular traits.


Neal J.W., et al., 2017, “Codevelopment of preschoolers’ temperament traits and social play networks over an entire school year,” Journal of personality and social psychology; 113(4): 627-640. [Web Reference]

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