Mediational Behaviours of Preschoolers Teaching Their Younger Siblings

Pnina S. Klein, Shlomit Zarur, Ruth Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


There is very little research on the process of teaching in sibling interaction. The current study was designed to explore teaching behaviours of preschoolers and their effects on their toddler siblings. Participants were 40 dyads of 5-yr-olds and their 3-yr-old siblings from a middle class urban community in Israel. The children were divided into four equal groups based on gender and age of the siblings in each dyad. The children were visited at home and invited to play with two puzzles and two Lego games. Their play interaction with their siblings was videotaped. The observations were analysed using the observing mediational interaction (OMI) scale, assessing the frequency and style of the following behaviours: Focussing, Affecting, Encouraging, Expanding, and Regulating Behaviour. The younger siblings' success in playing the games was evaluated using a 5-point scale. The frequency of teaching behaviours in sibling interaction was found to be related to the younger siblings' success on the games. Affecting and Encouraging were significantly related to the younger siblings' level of success on the games. The teaching behaviours of older siblings were characterized by relatively high frequencies of Regulation of Behavior and Encouraging, moderate frequencies of Affecting and low frequencies of Expanding. Boys were found to receive more teaching behaviours than girls. Older brothers and sisters showed higher frequencies of teaching behaviour in interactions with their younger brothers than with their younger sisters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-242
Number of pages10
JournalInfant and Child Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2003


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