How long do babies play?
August 17, 2012 12:00 AM   Subscribe

Google and Google Scholar are not helping me answer this. I'd like to know what the typical/bell curve range of attention span and play episodes (not eye contact) are for infants and young toddlers (under 2). I can find decent info for older kids, but all the child development studies I've found seem to assume an implicit range for "short/long". I'm especially interested in solitary play episode length with a single object.
posted by viggorlijah to Science & Nature (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, part of this issue is that infants don't "play" and that different perspectives and disciplines are interested in different things and different researchers conceptualize and operationalize thigns differently. The actual measure that you're interested in - solitary play with a single object - may not be how ANYONE has ever operationalized attention span or play episode. You'd be better off reading as much as you can on how different research teams have operationalized attention or interest (or whatever else related to this) rather than searching for specifically what you want.

But here's a measure of interest in this study: "The primary measure of interest was the mean percent of time the infant was actively involved with the three toys (Yarrow et al., 1983)."

And here's another study that gets at what you want a bit.
posted by k8t at 9:39 AM on August 17, 2012

Oh, and if this is just your curiosity if your infant is "normal" -- your best bet by far is to talk to your pediatrician and specifically a development pediatrician.

And, as an aside, as a researcher who is also a parent, the time spent reading studies about child development is better spent actually being with your child. :)
posted by k8t at 9:41 AM on August 17, 2012

Thanks - the phrase was from one study, and I ended up finding some closer materials through a proper journal search on a friend's account. We're seeing our pediatrician soon because her behaviour continues to be quite different.
posted by viggorlijah at 11:30 PM on September 18, 2012

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