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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10620/18539
Longitudinal Study: LSAC
Title: Does toddlers' and preschoolers' play predict later self-regulation? Longitudinal evidence from a representative Australian sample
Authors: Colliver, Yeshe
Harrison, Linda J.
Brown, Jude
Humburg, Peter
Publication Date: Dec-2021
Pages: 148-161
Keywords: Young children's play
Self-regulation
Time-Use Diary
Abstract: Self-regulation skills are foundational to successful participation in society, and predict a suite of positive outcomes throughout life. It has long been asserted that free (i.e., unstructured) play is important for the development of self-regulation, but studies investigating play and self-regulation have faced empirical limitations. The current study used a large sample (n = 2213) from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children to investigate time spent in unstructured quiet and active play activities at ages 2–3 and 4–5 years as a predictor of self-regulation abilities 2 years later. Children's play was reported by parents who completed a 24-hour time-use diary for 1 random weekend day and 1 weekday. Self-regulation was indexed at ages 4–5 and 6–7 by parent-, teacher- and observer-reported items comparable to similar large, longitudinal studies. Results showed that the more time children spent in unstructured quiet play Self-regulation skills are foundational to successful participation in society, and predict a suite of positive outcomes throughout life. It has long been asserted that free (i.e., unstructured) play is important for the development of self-regulation, but studies investigating play and self-regulation have faced empirical limitations. The current study used a large sample (n = 2213) from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children to investigate time spent in unstructured quiet and active play in the toddler and preschool years, the better their self-regulation abilities at ages 4–5 and 6–7 years, even after controlling for earlier self-regulation abilities and other known predictors. Further, between 1 and 5 hours of preschoolers’ unstructured active play time significantly predicted self-regulation 2 years later. This study provides early support for parenting programs designed to increase opportunities for children to spend time in unstructured, free play in the early years.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2021.11.011
URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0885200621001411
Research collection: Journal Articles
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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