9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN04 Sociology of Children and Childhood

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Everyday Life in Day-Care and After School Care Building II, C6.01

How children are seen to behave at home and in day-care? Daily diary method with young children, their parents and day-care personnel

Sometimes parents get surprising news about the child´s day in day-care: "Is that how my child behaved?" Every family member, including the child, carries experiences and emotions from their own different life spheres with them. We all act in a different manner depending if we are at home or in other surroundings. The interpretation of our behaviour depends on both the environment and the person making the analysis. It is common that discussions are held at home and in day-care concerning the child and his/her wellbeing. Sometimes a consensus is reached, sometimes the views differ. The purpose of this presentation is to describe how children are seen to behave at home and in day-care, to explore the possibilities of producing data from various perspectives using diary method, and to partly lower the barrier of discussion between parents and professionals, and to perceive the parents and day-care personnel as competent informants in the research field. There is also a methodological focal point: How can be captured the relevant aspects of children´s daily life?

In this study data was collected within a family study conducted in Finland. The research project called Palette is funded by the Academy of Finland. The project focused on how daily family dynamics, everyday family situations and the different voices in the family can be captured by using different diary methods. The data concerning the children (n=54) were collected using a daily diary and a questionnaire on demographics and factors related to day-care and family life. The one-week diary phase began on Monday morning and ended on the following Sunday evening. Children, aged 1 to 6, did not keep their own diaries because of their young age, but their parents and day-care personnel used a paper-and-pencil diary to collect data on the child´s moods and daily activities. Information about children is therefore influenced by adults´conceptions and images of childhood in general, previous experiences and present observations. Children participated by drawing and telling stories. In the analysis the adults´perceptions of children are examined through the descriptions written in daily diaries.