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PROJECT TOPIC-THE ROLE OF FAMILY TIME ON A YOUNG CHILD‘S OVERALL DEVELOPMENT

PROJECT TOPIC-THE ROLE OF FAMILY TIME ON A YOUNG CHILD‘S OVERALL DEVELOPMENT

ABSTRACT

Much research has been conducted concerning the factors that influence child development. Spending quality family time  ogether is an important part of the foundational process of how families develop. It is logical to assume the effects of  uality family time on young children‘s development are also very important. Surprisingly, there is little research on the influence of quality family time on a young child‘s development. The present  esearch proposal is based on the premise that spending family time together should promote stimulating environments, which can facilitate young children‘s positive development.
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between both family time and family strengths and each of the following areas of a  hild‘s development: social/emotional development, physical development, cognitive development, and language development. Another purpose was to examine the relationship between Family Time and Family Strengths and to also examine the perceptions of parents concerning the most important family activity in which their family participates and the reasons for importance of family activities they participate in together.
The sample consisted of 53 families with children between the ages of two and five. Participants were asked to fill out a Family Time  uestionnaire. Findings showed family time to be significantly related to two year old children‘s social/emotional, cognitive, and language development and three to five year old children‘s cognitive development. Family strengths are significantly related to two year old children‘s overall development.

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Family scholars have a growing concern about the time demands and hectic pace of parents‘ jobs which are causing families to have less time together (DeGenova, Stinnett & Stinnett, 2011). Data from national research on approximately 2,000 parents indicated that about 50 percent of the parents reported too little time with the children (Milkie, et al., 2004). Similarly, research examining family time among parents and adolescent children found that family time was rare.

Higher level of family time was related to more affectionate, loving and intimate relationships (Crouter et al., 2004). Much research has been conducted concerning the factors that influence child development. Spending quality family time together is an important part of the foundational process of how families develop. It is logical to assume the effects of quality family time on young children‘s development are also very important. Surprisingly, there is little research on the influence of quality family time on a young child‘s development.

Several research studies have examined the relationship between family time and adults, adolescents, and family satisfaction; however, research examining the impact of family time on young children‘s overall development is very limited.

PROJECT TOPIC-THE ROLE OF FAMILY TIME ON A YOUNG CHILD‘S OVERALL DEVELOPMENT

Why family time is important?

Family strengths research over the past four decades has consistently identified spending time together as one of the major qualities that  haracterize strong families. Conversely, lack of time together has been reported to be a critical problem of American families (Defrain, 2007; DeGenova, Stinnett & Stinnett, 2010). Family time is a very important part of the human developmental process and the family bonding system.

Family time is also important because the ecological perspective on human development emphasizes the importance of joint activities as building blocks of individual competence and close relationships, which in turn underlie psychological adjustment (Crouter, Head, McHale, & Tucker, 2004). Examinations of family leisure/time have consistently shown positive correlations between family recreation and aspects of family functioning such as satisfaction and bonding.

A study conducted by Hawkes (1991) suggests that in modern society, leisure/time is the single most important force in developing cohesive, healthy relationships between husbands and wives and between parents and their children. These family bonds and relationships influence how individuals learn to function and interact in society. Families are still considered to be the fundamental units of society and are perhaps the oldest and most important of all human institutions (Zabriskie & McCormick, 2001).
Although research has shown the importance of family time, the exact nature of family time has yet to be understood. Some may argue that family time alone is enough to make an impact on an individual. In contrast, others feel it is the ‗what‘ that is taking place during the family time that makes a difference. What happens during that shared time is also important (Larson & Richards, 1994). For example, in order for families to be healthy, its members must have daily interactions in which their emotional worlds come into meaningful contact; times when their minds meet, when closeness is shared (1994).

Eating meals and spending other time together is thought to provide the opportunity for a family to replenish themselves and affirm their experience of ―we-ness‖ (Larson & Richards, 1994).
Research has a variety of meanings for the term family time, however most would conclude that just because you spend time together doesn‘t mean that it is considered quality. In a study conducted by Daly (2001) one response to an interview question states, family time is togetherness, more than everyone being around and busy with the household operation; rather it was ―when we do things together as a family as opposed to just the time after 5, like cooking supper and doing homework.

‖ Family time should not be running errands or going to the kid‘s recreational activities, for these events would require the family‘s attention to be focused elsewhere. Family time should be when everyone can focus their attention only on one another, relax and enjoy themselves.
In addition to the lack of consistent meaning for the term ‗Family Time‘ the current research has, there is very little research examining the  elationship between family time and the development of young children.

There are many profound child development theorists who stress the importance of environmental influence on child development. Jean Piaget‘s cognitive development theory sets the stage of cognitive development with the belief that children move through four stages. Jean Piaget viewed children as discovering virtually all knowledge about their world through their own activity, and emphasized that individual differences in genetic and environmental factors affect the speed with which children move through stages of development (Piaget 1926/1928).
Another child development theorist Lev Trotsky, on the other hand stressed how social and cultural factors contribute to children‘s thinking (Berk, 2012). According to Trotsky, by communicating with adults and more knowledgeable partners, children engage in ―verbalized self-observation,‖ reflecting on, revising, and controlling their own thought process (Trotsky, 1986). Trotsky is famous for his Sociocultural Theory in which he believed children‘s learning takes place within the zone of proximal development, a range of tasks that are too difficult for a child to do alone but possible with the help of adults or a more skilled peer (Trotsky, 1978).

There are many more child development theorists who argue their beliefs about how young children develop; however, none examined the relationship between spending family time together and the child‘s development.
The family is the child‘s first and longest-lasting, context for development, families are pervasive, parenting is universally important to children‘s lives, and children who lack a satisfying, supportive family life are likely to crave it (Berk, 2012).

Most child development books explain the importance of family systems and socialization within the family. However, these explanations only consist of indirect and direct influences, styles of child rearing, adapting to parenting, family lifestyles, sibling relationships and family transitioning. None of these explain the importance of spending family time together or how family systems influence children‘s development.

PROJECT TOPIC-THE ROLE OF FAMILY TIME ON A YOUNG CHILD‘S OVERALL DEVELOPMENT

 

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