Leave-takings and reunions of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their parents.

T. Field, J. L. Gewirtz, D. Cohen, R. Garcia, R. Greenberg, K. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The leave-taking and reunion behaviors of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their parents were observed as the children were "dropped off" and "picked up" at their nursery school each day. On arrival at their classroom, infants and toddlers related primarily to their parents, whereas preschoolers related to their teachers. Girls more frequently engaged in interaction with their teachers, and boys more frequently approached the children's play activities. Distress behaviors during the parents' departures were most frequently shown by toddlers, and the toddlers' parents hovered about them and " sneaked out of the room" more frequently. Children dropped off by mothers versus fathers showed more attention-getting behavior and crying, and mothers versus fathers engaged in more "distracting-the-child" behaviors and showed a longer latency to leave the classroom. During the second semester of observations parents and children spent less time relating to each other during leave-taking, children protested the departures less frequently, and the parents left the classroom more quickly. Regression analyses on distress behaviors during leave- takings and ambivalent behavior during reunions suggested that parent behaviors such as verbal explanation, distracting the child, latency to leave, and " sneaking out of the room" were correlated with children's distress and leave-taking distress was related to ambivalent behavior at reunion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)628-635
Number of pages8
JournalChild development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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