Data_Sheet_1_Brief Interventions Influence the Quantity and Quality of Caregiver-Child Conversations in an Everyday Context.docx (1.42 MB)
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Data_Sheet_1_Brief Interventions Influence the Quantity and Quality of Caregiver-Child Conversations in an Everyday Context.docx

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posted on 16.06.2021, 05:01 authored by Apoorva Shivaram, Yaritza Chavez, Erin Anderson, Autumn Fritz, Ryleigh Jackson, Louisa Edwards, Shelley Powers, Melissa Libertus, Susan Hespos

Reading and arithmetic are difficult cognitive feats for children to master and youth from low-income communities are often less “school ready” in terms of letter and number recognition skills (Lee and Burkam, 2002). One way to prepare children for school is by encouraging caregivers to engage children in conversations about academically-relevant concepts by using numbers, recognizing shapes, and naming colors (Levine et al., 2010; Fisher et al., 2013). Previous research shows that caregiver-child conversations about these topics rarely take place in everyday contexts (Hassinger-Das et al., 2018), but interventions designed to encourage such conversations, like displaying signs in a grocery store, have resulted in significant increases in caregiver-child conversations (Ridge et al., 2015; Hanner et al., 2019). We investigated whether a similar brief intervention could change caregiver-child conversations in an everyday context. We observed 212 families in a volunteer-run facility where people who are food-insecure can select food from available donations. Volunteers greet all the clients as they pass through the aisles, offer food, and restock the shelves as needed. About 25% of the clients have children with them and our data consist of observations of the caregiver-child conversations with 2- to 10-year-old children. Half of the observation days consisted of a baseline condition in which the quantity and quality of caregiver-child conversation was observed as the client went through aisles where no signs were displayed, and volunteers merely greeted the clients. The other half of the observation days consisted of a brief intervention where signs were displayed (signs-up condition), where, volunteers greeted the clients and pointed out that there were signs displayed to entertain the children if they were interested. In addition, there was a within-subject manipulation for the intervention condition where each family interacted with two different categories of signs. Half of the signs had academically-relevant content and the other half had non-academically-relevant content. The results demonstrate that the brief intervention used in the signs-up condition increases the quantity of conversation between a caregiver and child. In addition, signs with academically-relevant content increases the quality of the conversation. These findings provide further evidence that brief interventions in an everyday context can change the caregiver-child conversation. Specifically, signs with academically-relevant content may promote school readiness.

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