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The natural context of mother-toddler play interactions in a rural Nepali community

Sunita Rajouria, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Research indicates that mothers structure or scaffold children's early play. However, it is unclear whether these findings can be generalized to mothers and children of different cultures. Culture-specific and ecological factors may affect a mother's inclination and motivation to play with her child, her scaffolding behaviors, her involvement in play, and the type and kind of play she engages in. This study explores and provides preliminary descriptions of how play is defined, perceived, and valued by a sample of fifteen rural Nepali mothers. The study also describes the kind of play interactions Nepali mothers have with their young children who range in age from twelve to thirty-six months. The qualitative method of research was used to address the research questions. Data were collected through participant observation, videotapes of mother-child play in the course of everyday activity in the home, and interviews and discussion with the mothers based on the videotaped activities between them and their children. The results of the study reveal that play appears to be an integral aspect of mother-child interaction in daily care routines and is seen as a valuable means for keeping the child engaged, for managing child behavior, and for encouraging children's co-operation. The mothers in this study have a positive attitude towards play and are aware of the developmental impact it has on children, even though they underestimate their own roles in play interaction with their children. Findings contribute to the field of child development and education by building on existing cross-cultural literature on play. Early childhood educators and practitioners will be able to utilize the results of this study to inform their work in designing and implementing culturally relevant child development and education programs that are meaningful for the target population.

Subject Area

Preschool education|Developmental psychology|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Rajouria, Sunita, "The natural context of mother-toddler play interactions in a rural Nepali community" (2002). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3056272.