Top News 2020

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Maija Lundén & Maarit Silvén

Infants’ dyadic play interaction with mother and father – Familial differences in co-regulation predict children’s language and communicative development

Few studies have compared parent and infant co-regulated play in maternal and paternal dyads or variation in co-regulation at the family level. In this study, we observed Finnish infants’ co-regulation during dyadic play interaction with mother and father at 7 months (N = 24 families). The main interest was to investigate whether parent gender influences co-regulation and how familial differences in co-regulation relate to children’s language and communicative skills at 14 months. In general, the degree parent and infant were actively engaged in co-regulating joint play activities did not differ between maternal and paternal dyads. Moreover, we used cluster analysis to identify groups of families with different co-regulation profiles in mid-infancy. Familial differences in co-regulated play were related to children’s vocabulary size, communicative gestures, actions with objects and imitation of adult actions beyond infancy. The findings suggest that infants’ interactional experiences with both parents are important for later development.

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