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.

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 September 20, 2014 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 September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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