The observation took place in the house of my friend’s family. We sat in the kitchen and had a session after some quick lunch and coffee. The child who was interviewed is the younger brother of my close friend. During the process, the child, their mother, and my friend were in the room. I have known the boy since he was little, so we had a good and trusting relationship with him. The younger brother’s name is Kristian, but close ones, including family and friends, call him Kris. He is ten years old, and Kristian studies in the fifth grade. He is an average height of 5 feet and 2 inches, which is normal for his age since the standard is 50.5 to 59 inches (Cook & Cook, 2014). Kris has red hair slim and sporty body type, and he said that when he weighed a year ago, the number was about 72 pounds which is normal for his age (Cook & Cook, 2014). My general impression of the child was that he was relaxed, ingenious in a good mood. The child is rather confident for his age and demonstrates the ability to communicate with the adults as equals without any fear or intimidation.
Interview Questions and Responses
- What is your first name? How old are you? What grade are you in?
- “My name is Kristian, I’m ten, and I’m in fifth grade.”
- What is your favorite show to watch? Was it your favorite show last year? Have you changed what you like to watch?
- “I’m so into anime, and I love it so much I could watch it all day. I love most Naruto, and it is still my favorite show for a couple of years.”
- How much time do you spend on a screen each day which includes time on a computer, tablet, video game, or phone screen? What activities are you doing on these machines?
- “I don’t know, and I think maybe five hours or something like that. Well, throughout the school day, I often text my friends, play games, or read the manga.”
- Are there rules in your house about how much time you are allowed to be on a screen? If so, what are they? What happens if you break the rule?
- “When I am at home, my mum does not allow me to use too much computer, and she only lets me spend about two hours on the computer. When mum forbids me from playing on the computer, I play it on the tablet, but she might take it away if she thinks that I exceed my limit.”
- Tell me about your brothers and sisters, if you have any. How old are they? Do you play together a lot? What things do you like to play with them? Do you ever fight with your brothers/sisters? What do you fight about?
- My sister Elizabeth is the only sibling I have. She is 20, and she studies in college something about business. We had many fights in the past, but now we are like friends, and she even loves to watch anime with me. We play together and spend time in general, but she started to do it less often. But when she is free, and I ask her to watch anime together or go somewhere like a movie and park, she always agrees. Sometimes, we fight when Lizzi says I distract her or being too intrusive.”
- Do you have chores you are supposed to do? What are they? What happens if you don’t do them?
- “We all should keep our rooms clean, but it sometimes seems that Lizzi can have a mess, but I don’t. We also should clean after ourselves when we eat or take a bath and then forget to do it we can have a little fight. If I don’t do something of my chores, mom reminds me of it but can get a little mad if I ignore her.”
- Do you and your family get to do things together? What kinds of things do you like to do best?
- “Yes, we love going to the restaurants and mall, eating food like pizza and pies, and then maybe even watching a movie. When we are at home, we love playing board games.”
- Tell me about your friends. Do you have a best friend? What do you like to do together?
- “Yes, I have a best friend, Cleo, she’s amazing. We love spending time outside and hanging out with our other friends.”
- What happens if you and your friend disagree about something?
- “When she is wrong, I always try to prove to her that she is wrong, but Cleo still doesn’t understand it. When she thinks that I am wrong in proving otherwise and we can fight a lot. But then we are friends again because we love each other.”
- Does your friend’s family have some of the same rules that your family has? Sometimes parents do things in different ways from other parents… how do you feel about that?
- “Yes, they have the same rules about cleaning. Sometimes it may be good and sometimes weird when I see how others’ parents behave. I wish my parents would let me go to sleepovers as often as Cleo’s parents do.”
- Do you have a favorite teacher? Please describe why this person is a favorite. Can you describe a teacher you don’t think is very good?
- “Yes, I love Ms. Olsen very much, she is super kind, and she almost never gets mad at us. I don’t know real like Mss. Wilder, she can scream at us, and I’m kind of afraid of her.”
- What do you like best about school? What makes it that interesting for you?
- “I like when we have few classes because I get tired by the end of the day. Then I can spend more time with my friends after school.”
- What do you find the most challenging about school? What do you like the least? Tell me why you do not like this or why it is such a challenge?
- “The most challenging is homework, and I hate it so much. Especially when it’s Math, my least favorite subject. I don’t like homework sometimes, it is ridiculous, and I don’t understand why I should do something at home when we already studied in school.”
- If kids misbehave in school, what happens? How do you feel about that?
- “They get punished. I try not to get punished because otherwise, the school tells my parents, and I will also get punished at home as well.”
- Are there any crafts or hobbies you enjoy? What outdoor games/activities or sports do you like to participate in?
- “Yes, I love dancing, especially K-pop, and I’ve been doing it for a year now. I also love swimming very much, watching anime, and playing computer games.”
- Do you feel you have grown a lot since last year?
- “Yes, when we were buying the clothes for dance classes, my mom told me that I became taller and we needed to choose the bigger size.”
- What are some of the safety rules that you keep in mind when you are at home and outside of the home?
- “I don’t open the door unless those are my family, and I never talk to strangers and don’t cross the road on the red light.”
- Can you share any memories from when you were in preschool or kindergarten?
- “Yes, I remember how I didn’t want to sleep during the day and tried to play with the toys in my bed, but the teacher took them away.”
- If you think back a few years, can you think of something you believed in that you now think is silly?
- “When I found out that Santa Claus isn’t really probably.”
- What do you think is the biggest problem in the world?
- “That president can’t give people more money.”
- If you could meet anyone in the world, whom would you like to meet?
- “I want Naruto to be real, and we could be best friends. I feel like we are very similar.”
- If you had one wish, what would it be?
- “I want to have my game room and play as much as I want.”
Kris is a rather smart and observing child for his age, although it is still in the framework of traditional childish behavior. He understands that his sister cannot spend much time with him because of the responsibilities of her adult life. Even though it upsets him, Kristian deems to accept it, but not without some egoistic aspect that Kris has to get all the attention. He also sees the connection between his behavior and consequences and avoids misbehaving since it will lead to some unpleasant results.
I found some remnants of preoperational thinking in him, and some of them were shown rather often. For example, Kristian, when talking about someone of the teacher, friends, or family members, always exaggerates, mimics, and imitates the individual he talks about, which are signs of preoperational thinking (What are Piaget’s stages of development, n.d.). For instance, when he described his friend and sister when she got annoyed, he actively copied their tone of voice, expressions, and gestures.
When we talked about the number of hours he spends on the screen, he realized that although some of that time might have been spent on games or studies does not matter in which proportion. It still counts as screen time even if it was not for his pleasure. This is a sign of a concrete operational stage because he realizes that no matter how he uses the screen time, it is still the same number of hours he spends on the computer, and it counts (What are Piaget’s stages of development, n.d.). Therefore, he manages to do his study chores quicker to have more time left to play his favorite game.
Social and Emotional Development
I noticed that when Kristian talked about his friend group, he primarily mentioned girls, and it seemed that he spent more time with them than with boys. He has no problem being close with the girls and does not actively try to join other boys. It led me to the conclusion that Kristian does not demonstrate signs of gender segregation that eventually start to appear in the child. Usually, children have firm views regarding their gender and how males and girls normally differ by the time they reach middle childhood (Cook & Cook, 2014). Regarding his parents, it is possible to say that his mother is dedicated to supporting her son and demonstrates love towards the child. She approves of Kristian’s passion for dancing and encourages him to practice. Eventually, parental support affects a child’s development and growth (Katara et al., 2018). Kris truly enjoys his hobby, while both of his parents are happy to assist him by paying for the classes in the studio and helping to prepare for the performances with his dance crew. Thus, Kristian’s social and family environment is favorable for his development and growth.
Kris enjoys doing various activities which positively affect his physical development. He mentioned in our interview that he likes playing video games and some of them constantly include fast pressing various buttons on the keyboard and simultaneously clicking the computer mouse. This activity involves his fine motor skills, “fine motor skills require the ability to coordinate small muscle groups in the arms, hands, and finger” (Poglitsch, 6:45). Kristian started taking K-pop classes a year ago, which is related to his gross motor development and skills involving the larger muscles of the body. Kris noticed that he feels stronger after doing sport for so long. I also have observed that he is fit and has some athletic body features. Organized sports have various psychological, social, and physical advantages. It can enhance muscle power, endurance, lung and heart health, speed, mobility, balance, and coordination (Cook & Cook, 2014). Kristian shows good awareness of physical safety since it is possible to get trauma during dancing if the safety rules are neglected.
This assignment made me realize that all children have a unique childhood and development, and sometimes it may not go according to the traditional ideas of how the child is supposed to grow and behave. Our experiences with Kris are similar because I was also interested in dancing when I was his age, and my family also supported my interest. Kris is very confident and skillful, and I see evidence of this when he talks about doing activities he likes, such as dancing and playing games. Jean Piaget, a developmental psychologist, created one of the most popular theories of cognitive development (Banks, 2017). Social interactions play an important role in child development and have the power to influence many aspects of development.
This can be seen in the social interactions that come from organized sports. Participation in organized sports in middle childhood is associated with “higher levels of self-esteem, lower levels of depression, a more positive body image, and a higher level of psychological well-being” (Cook & Cook, 2014, p. 311). Understanding how various factors influence children at this developmental time has taught me how crucial it is to be patient with them. In my professional capacity, I will take my time to get to know each child properly and find an individual approach to each of them. I will use my chances to contribute to their social and emotional development by teaching them particular life skills such as communication and interaction with peers.
Banks, K., L. (2017). Differences between cognitive development and language learning. how to (adult).
Cook, J. L., & Cook, G. (2014). The World of Children (3rd ed.). Pearson.
Katara, N., Balda, S., & Sangwan, S. (2018). Parental encouragement and educational high school children. International Journal of Education and Management Studies, 8(2), 266-268.
Poglitsch, M. (Director), & Ryan, K. O. (Producer). (2011). Middle childhood, physical growth, & development [Video file]. Learning Seed. Retrieved from Academic Video Online: Premium database.