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Why is play with siblings and peers important for childrens development

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Module: ED209 Child Development Personal Identifier: B6263069 TMA 3: Why is play with siblings and peers important for children's development? Word Count: 2157 Why is play with siblings and peers important for children's development? It has long been recognised by numerous developmental psychologists that children's first relationships and experiences have a significant effect on development. Research by Bowlby and others on attachment has shown the importance and implications of early relationships and interactions with caregivers; the effect these have on development both in children and in later adult life. Harris (1998) and Pinker (2002) have argued that the influence parents have in children's social development has been largely exaggerated and that socialization occurs within peer group interactions. As infants mature they interact with a diverse range of people, engaging and sustaining varied relations including those with other children. These varied interactions provide unique experiences and each has developmental significance. Exploring the significance of children's relationships and interactions with other children, most notably with their siblings and peer groups has become in itself a developmental topic. The focus on this topic involves examining how children learn the skills to deal with the complexity of social life. How through their interactions of talk and play together they learn to negotiate, co-operate and resolve conflicts and prepare themselves for adult life. Dunn (2004) illustrates the nature and features of peer and sibling interactions. ...read more.


This freedom does not go without dispute, racist and sexist teasing and fighting can occur. Without adults children learn how to regulate games and how to manage bullying and teasing developing a sophisticated set of skills in social understanding (Blatchford, 1994). Whitney and Smith (1993) argue that although playground experiences help shape new skills studies have shown that bullying and aggression are wide spread and a great cause for concern. It is important to recognise that while it is important for children to learn to manage difficult interpersonal skills independently, intervention from adults may be needed to teach children how to constructively handle conflict in order to prevent potential bullying and serious problems. Conflicts and disputes are not necessarily negative experiences for a child's development. They are inevitable in life and it is important for children to recognise the existence of conflicts of interest and the skills required to negotiate and respect each others point of view. The aspect of 'conflict' through 'rough and tumble' play enables children to understand peer culture, the cultural codes and emotional tone of voice set the boundaries of what is acceptable and the rules that regulate infringement about what is 'fair'. Smith et al (1999) insinuate play fighting is not only normal but enjoyed as an intimacy within a relationship between peers. However, teasing can become highly provocative between children and intentional, unprovoked and repeated behaviour can be identified as bullying and dominate and can result in a negative experience. ...read more.


The skills of co-operation and collaboration are not only seen in play but also can be observed in classroom or 'work' settings. As indicated by Vass (2004) it is hard to distinguish between playful and work related interactions. Children often add banter and combine play with work. Creative ideas can originally be presented as a joke and this can act as a positive interface helping children create ideas and dissolving and potential conflict from differences of opinion. Work by Vygotsky (1978) suggests that learning can be supported when there is a degree of inequality of skills and collaboration with more capable peers encourages development into a new level of competence. The argument presented in this paper aims to provide an antithesis to attachment theory diverting the emphasis away from the focus of mother-child relations to that of the wider social context. It shows interactions between children are fundamental in the development of their social skills and understanding. It enables them to negotiate, resolve conflict and to see another person's point of view. The ability to initiate, maintain and sustain friendships gives children vital skills in childhood but are also important for a successful adult social life. Children's interactions can also support learning a significant developmental process. Through play children are able to experience situations and emotions that may present to them in adult life. These processes are fundamental to a child's development and why interactions with peers and siblings are so influential. ...read more.

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