Why Is Play with Siblings and Peers Important for Children’s Development?

2146 Words Jul 3rd, 2011 9 Pages
Why is play with siblings and peers important for children’s development?

To provide my answer I will consider the nature and features of sibling and peer interactions and discuss the developmental significance of these relationships. I will draw upon research to support my rationale and explore the limitations of these accounts. I intend to conclude that children’s play is more than ‘A physical or mental leisure activity that is undertaken purely for enjoyment or amusement and has no other objective’ (Play therapy,U.K, 2011).

Throughout history there is evidence of children playing, although the content of play differs across time and space. Puritans disproved of play regarding it as frivolous. In contrast Locke (1632-1704)
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Supporting Blatchford’s theory Smith claimed peer cultures set the emotional tone of interactions, acceptable boundaries and ground rules. And suggested that even negative experiences such as dealing with aggression can be useful preparation for adult life (The Open University, 2005, p103).

Blatchford’s study is effective because of the methodology used: longitudinal studies allow the same children to be studied over a long period of time; this ensures differences found are not due to individual child differences. Researchers can also investigate if behaviours remain stable over time. One disadvantage can be participant attrition (although this was minimal in this study). This may affect reliability as the remaining sample may be biased in some way. Blatchford’s study is complemented by Pellegrini (2003) who studied the social interaction skills involved in ‘rough and tumble’ play (R&T). Like Blatchford, Pellegrini used; observations of play episodes and self-report techniques. The research highlighted the issue of dominance and aggression and that playful interactions change with age. For example: juveniles ‘R&T’ play is not related to aggression however, for adolescents males it is related to physical aggression and establishes peer status (Pellegrini, 2003, p.1522). Playful interactions for children of the same age vary for different groups for example; boys engage with other boys using dominance

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