The five journal articles I examined were all from a journal titled Developmental Psychology, May 2000. The first journal article that I observed was “Sleep Patterns and Sleep Disruptions in School-Aged Children.” This study assessed the sleep patterns, sleep disruptions, and sleepiness of school-age children. Sleep patterns of 140 children (72 boys and 68 girls; 2nd-, 4th-, and 6th-grade students) were evaluated with activity monitors (actigraphs). In addition, the children and their parents completed complementary sleep questionnaires and daily reports.
The findings reflected significant age differences, indicating that older children have more delayed sleep onset times and increased reported daytime sleepiness. Girls were found to spend more time in sleep and to have an increased percentage of motionless sleep. Fragmented sleep was found in 18% of the children. No age differences were found in any of the sleep quality measures. Scores on objective sleep measures were associated with subjective reports of sleepiness. Family stress, parental age, and parental education were related to the child’s sleep-wake measures.
The next article I observed was “Shared Caregiving: Comparisons Between Home and Child-Care Settings.” The experiences of 84 German toddlers (12-24 months old) who were either enrolled or not enrolled in child care were described with observational checklists from the time they woke up until they went to bed. The total amount of care experienced over the course of a weekday by 35 pairs of toddlers (1 member of each pair in child care, 1 member not) did not differ according to whether the toddlers spent time in child care.
Although the child-care toddlers received lower levels of care from care providers in the centers, their mothers engaged them in more social interactions during non-working hours than did the mothers of home-only toddlers, which suggests that families using child care provided different patterns of care than families not using child care. Child-care toddlers experienced high levels of emotional support at home, although they experienced less prompt responses to their distress signals. Mothers’ ages were unrelated to the amounts of time toddlers spent with them, but older mothers initiated more closeness.
The next article I wrote on was “Friendship and Social Competence in a Sample of Preschool Children Attending Head Start.” Relations between friendship and social competence were studied for children (mostly African American) attending Head Start. Initial analyses showed that children with reciprocated friends had higher social competence scores than children without reciprocated friends. Correlation’s suggested that the number of changed friendships was associated with the social ability indicators studied here. Beyond the cost of having no reciprocated friends, having non-reciprocated friendships was not a liability.
Cross-time analysis suggested differing patterns of relations for boys and girls. Having, versus not having a reciprocated friend was unstable across time, because there was a trend toward participating in reciprocated friendships from 3 to 4 years of age (most older children had at least one reciprocated friend). For girls there was a positive relation between the number of reciprocated friendships. No benefit (in terms of social competence) was found for children making the transition from one classroom to the next with a friend. The next article was “Where’s the Ball? Two- and Three-Year-Olds Reason About Unseen Events.” Children 2, 2 1/2, and 3 years of age engaged in a search task in which they opened one of four doors in an occluder to retrieve a ball that had been rolled behind the occluder.
The correct door was determined by a partially visible wall placed behind the occluder that stopped the motion of the unseen ball. Only the oldest group of children was able to reliably choose the correct door. All children were able to retrieve a toy that had been hidden in the same apparatus if the toy was hidden from the front by opening a door. Analysis of the younger children’s errors indicated that they did not search randomly but instead used a variety of strategies.
The results are consistent with the Piagetian view that the ability to use representations to guide action develops slowly over the first years of life. The final article I read was “Gender, Affiliation, Assertion, and the Interactive Context of Parent-Child Play.” In this study ninety-eight young U.S. children (average age-4 years) with either European, Latin American, or multiple ethnic backgrounds were videotaped with their mothers and their fathers on separate occasions in their families’ homes.
Parent-child pairs played for 8 minutes each with a feminine-stereotyped toy set (foods and plates) and a masculine-stereotyped toy set (track and cars). Levels of affiliation (engaging vs. distancing) and assertion (direct vs. non-direct) were rated on 7-point scales every 5 seconds from the videotapes for both parent and child. Overall, the play activity accounted for a large proportion of the variance in parents’ and children’s mean affiliation and assertion ratings.
Some hypothesized gender-related differences in behavior were also observed. In addition, exploratory analyses revealed some differences between the different ethnic groups. The results highlight the importance of role modeling and activity settings in the socialization and social construction of gender.