Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pretending Not Just Child's Play: Parents Can Have Important Role, Too

Date:
October 9, 1997
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Years of research on early childhood have been dominated by thinking that children's pretending needs little help from adults. University of Illinois researchers have found that when parents join in, the kids' development gets a boost.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Years of research on early childhood have been dominatedby thinking that children's pretending needs little help from adults. "Weassumed it was pretty much a creation that came from within the child,"says Wendy Haight, a professor of social work at the University of Illinois.

Related Articles


But from early in her studies of parent-child interaction, Haight observedthat many parents play an intentional role in encouraging their kids topretend, and obviously see that role as important. "I was struck bythe extent to which caregivers were pretending with their very young children,even before the children were displaying independent pretend play,"she said.

In one study with a group of middle-class, white Americans, "thevery consistent finding was that parents viewed pretending as importantto their children's development, viewed it as an enjoyable activity, andthought that their role was significant in helping their children learnhow to pretend."

Through subsequent research, Haight concluded that these parents mightbe on to something. "We've found that, in fact, when children pretendedwith their caregivers, it was more complex, more elaborated, and also moreextended than when they pretended by themselves," she said. "Andthey used the ideas that the parents initiated in their subsequent pretending."

A child playing by himself, for instance, might sit behind a toy steeringwheel and simply turn the wheel and make engine noises. A parent joiningin can take the child on a pretend trip, teaching along the way.

Among the things that parents begin to communicate very early throughpretending, whether consciously or unconsciously, is their culture, Haightnoted -- her observations based on a study involving both Chinese (in Taiwan)and white, middle-class Americans. For the Americans, she found, pretendplay was often child-centered and revolved around a toy or object. TheChinese parents more often than not initiated the play and used it to teachsocial customs or routines, like how to greet a guest or teacher.

"It's fascinating to see how deeply ingrained cultural beliefs getincorporated into pretend play it's one of many everyday practices throughwhich children get socialized into their culture," Haight said. Thelong-dominant thinking, that most pretending starts with the child, "wouldpredict that pretend play would look pretty much the same wherever, regardlessof the context -- but we're saying that doesn't appear to be the case."

How individual parents pretend with their kids also depends a lot onhow they see their parental role, Haight said. For most fathers, theirparticipation in pretend play seems "very related to how much theyenjoy it," she said. For most mothers, it seems related to "howimportant they feel it is to children's development."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Pretending Not Just Child's Play: Parents Can Have Important Role, Too." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971005124219.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (1997, October 9). Pretending Not Just Child's Play: Parents Can Have Important Role, Too. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971005124219.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Pretending Not Just Child's Play: Parents Can Have Important Role, Too." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971005124219.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) Model schools are rethinking how they engage with the community to help enhance the lives of the students and their parents. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Rooftop Comedy (Jan. 26, 2015) A man in Texas saved every penny he found for 65 years, and this week he finally cashed them in. Bank tellers at Prosperity Bank in Slaton, Texas were shocked when Ira Keys arrived at their bank with over 500 pounds of loose pennies stored in coffee cans. After more than an hour of sorting and counting, it turned out the 81 year-old was in possession of 81,600 pennies, or $816. And he&apos;s got more at home! Video provided by Rooftop Comedy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins