Day care and social development

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A study from Radboud University in the Netherlands provides evidence that children who spend longer in day care show improved abilities to cope with peer relationships.

Arjen Stolk and his co-workers tested non-verbal communication among five year-olds using a specially-designed computer game in which one player had to help a player in a separate room find a hidden item. The players could not communicate verbally and so had to think about the best way to communicate to the second player the information they needed to complete the task. The researchers found that different communication strategies were used if the children thought the second player was a two year-old rather than another five year-old.

The more days that the children in the study spent in day care, the better they were at adjusting their communication style. The researchers suggest that this could be because children who spend longer in day care encounter a greater variety of social situations.

image credit: Kevin Jarrett, Flickr

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