Children's Interactions at Preschool Mealtime: Social Aspects

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The present research examined young children's interactions at preschool mealtime. In Study 1, 4-to 5-year olds were observed at 1 preschool for 1 year 3 months. While eating, the children talked about family, food, and other general topics. Ritualized interactions, that is, interactions that were routine or that followed a set pattern, were identified. In the 4-year-olds' class, interactions that followed set patterns were longer than non-ritualized ones, and more children participated in such interactions that in the non-ritualized ones. However, these results were not observed in the 5-year-olds. Rather, in the 5-year-olds' class, non-ritualized interactions were longer and had more participants than those with an established pattern. In Study 2, observations were made of a class 4-year-olds who had just entered the school. At first, interactions following the set patterns used in that classroom were not found, but they appeared about 1 month later. As in the 4-year-olds' class in Study 1, longer interactions and more participation were found for interactions following set routines than for non-ritualized interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-202
Number of pages11
JournalJapanese Journal of Educational Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Preschool children
  • Preschool lunchtime
  • Preschoolers' interactions
  • Routines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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