Establishing positive peer relationships is integral to children's social development and is linked to a variety of long-term outcomes and life skills. The present study provides an in-depth examination of the ways in which child care providers guide young children in their early social experiences with peers during infancy, when social competence with peers is first being developed. Findings documented multiple avenues through which child care providers help to scaffold infants' naturally occurring social encounters with their peers, including creating opportunities for peer interaction, preventing and interrupting peer interaction, communicating to children about their peers and peer relations, providing direct instructions and rules for peer interaction, and modeling social behavior during group interactions. Scaffolding strategies were categorized as adult-centered, child-centered, and group-based. Results also revealed some specific effects of scaffolding on infant social competence with peers over a 6-month time period.
- Child care
- Peer interaction