Arts-based activities could help toddlers' development

July 4, 2013
Arts-based activities could help toddlers’ development
Researchers have linked child happiness to interactive and arts-related activities.

(Medical Xpress)—Parents taking part in interactive and arts-related activities with their two and three-year-olds could help promote their happiness and development of everyday skills, a study by researchers at The Open University and Oxford University suggests.

The researchers found that child happiness, as reported by their parents, was linked to how frequently the children were engaged in activities such as reading, storytelling, shopping, painting and doing arts and crafts.

In contrast, passive activities like looking at or brought no discernible benefits. Watching television appeared, in this analysis, to have a on child happiness that was statistically significant.

The results also suggested that more active activities may boost the development of a child's motor and social skills. For example, painting or engaging in arts and crafts could promote the development of movement skills, while reading, telling stories and singing had a significant impact on both talking ability and social skills. More passive activities did not appear to contribute to the development of these skills.

The researchers applied to data drawn from the German Household Survey in the years 2007 to 2010. The data included responses from over 800 German parents about the happiness and wellbeing of their two and three-year-olds, the activities they took part in and their development of talking, movement, and social skills.

Professor Paul Anand of The Open University said: 'We applied standard economic tools to analyse children's wellbeing and development at a very early age. An of very young children is relatively novel, but if our findings are replicated in other research, they could have significant implications for parenting education. It should allow us to reassess the role of arts in the development of skills and human potential.'

Dr Laurence Roope of the Health Economics Research Centre at Oxford University said: 'Our results suggest that parents may face difficult trade-offs with regard to time spent actively engaging with their children, versus providing for them materially via the labour market.

'Of course parents can't engage their young children in these activities every hour of the day, but it is encouraging that time spent reading books to them, painting or joining in with a nursery rhyme could help their . It will be interesting to see whether similar results emerge for slightly older children and using other datasets.'

The researchers are presenting the results of their study, 'An Economic Analysis of Child Development and Happiness', at a conference on the economics of wellbeing at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)-Universities conference in Paris today.

Explore further: Children with delayed motor skills struggle more socially

Related Stories

Children with delayed motor skills struggle more socially

July 1, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Studies have shown that children with autism often struggle socially and now new research suggests that a corresponding lack of motor skills – including catching and throwing – may further contribute ...

Family literacy project exceeds expectations

September 6, 2012

A unique approach to early literacy work with families where children develop their language skills and their ability to read and write from an early age has had a huge success.

Recommended for you

Where belief in free will is linked to happiness

January 23, 2017

Western and Asian cultures tend to have different core beliefs around free will. In a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology, Jingguang Li, professor at Dali University, and his research team show the link between ...

Study reveals areas of the brain impacted by PTSD

January 23, 2017

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and the VA Boston Healthcare System are one step closer to understanding the specific nature of brain changes associated with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

For health and happiness, share good news

January 22, 2017

Service members, including both active and recently separated, have been called upon to fight overseas and to assist during natural disasters at home. They can face unique challenges when they return in both the workplace ...

The great unknown—risk-taking behaviour in adolescents

January 19, 2017

Adolescents are more likely to ignore information that could prompt them to rethink risky decisions. This may explain why information campaigns on risky behaviors such as drug abuse tend to have only limited success. These ...

Mandarin makes you more musical?

January 18, 2017

Mandarin makes you more musical - and at a much earlier age than previously thought. That's the suggestion of a new study from the University of California San Diego. But hold on there, overachiever parents, don't' rush just ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.