The magic of play: Low-income mothers' and fathers' playfulness and children's emotion regulation and vocabulary skills

Resource Type: Reports & Papers
Author(s): Cabrera, Natasha J.; Karberg, Elizabeth; Malin, Jenessa L.; Aldoney, Daniela;
Date Issued: November/December 2017
Description: Using data from a diverse sample of low-income families who participated in the Early Head Start Research Evaluation Project (n = 73), we explored the association between mothers' and fathers' playfulness with toddlers, toddler's affect during play, and children's language and emotion regulation at prekindergarten. There were two main findings. First, fathers' playfulness in toddlerhood was associated with children's vocabulary skills in prekindergarten whereas mothers' playfulness was related to children's emotion regulation. Cross-parental effects were found only for mothers. The association between mothers' playfulness and children's vocabulary and emotion regulation was strengthened when fathers engaged in more pretend play and when children were affectively positive during the play. These findings show that playfulness is an important source of variation in the vocabulary and emotion regulation of children growing up in low-income families. They also point to domain-specific ways that mothers and fathers promote children's regulatory and vocabulary skills, and highlight the importance of children's positive engagement in play. (author abstract)
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Funder(s): National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U.S.) ; National Science Foundation (U.S.)
Journal Title: Infant Mental Health Journal
Volume Number: 38
Issue Number: 6
Page Range: 757-771
Topics: Children & Child Development > Child Development & School Readiness

Parents & Families > Parent/Family Characteristics > Gender

Programs, Interventions & Curricula > Programs > Early Head Start/Head Start
Country: United States
ISSN: 0163-9641 Paper
1097-0355 Online
Peer Reviewed: yes
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