Spending time with others: A time-use diary for infant-toddler child care

Linda Harrison, Sheena Elwick, Claire Vallotton, Gregor Kappler

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


This chapter focuses on infants’ and toddlers’ experiences of the social and physical world as they occur in their everyday lives in child care. Our study of daily life in child care began by selecting a methodology that would capture the child’s day in its entirety. The approach we chose was time-use diary (TUD), a research method most typically used in the social sciences (Gershuny J, Sullivan O, Eur Sociol Rev 14(1):69–85, 1998) to record a person’s activities as they naturally and sequentially occur in daily life. In designing a TUD for infant-toddler child care, we aimed to collect a detailed, complete and accurate estimate of the time children spent in different activities and interactions with educators and other children across the entire day. A process of continuous observation was developed to record ‘what the child is doing’, ‘where the child is’ and ‘who the child is with’. TUDs were collected in child care centres and family day care homes for 25 children who ranged in age from 5 to 24 months. By applying different analytical tools to the data, we were able to calculate summary totals for the amount of time children spent in different activities or with different people, as well as producing visual patterns to depict how children’s use of time changed across the day.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLived spaces of infant-toddler education and care
Subtitle of host publicationExploring diverse perspectives on theory, research and practice
EditorsLinda J. Harrison, Jennifer Sumsion
Place of PublicationDordrecht
PublisherSpringer-Verlag London Ltd.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9789401788380
ISBN (Print)9789401788373
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

Name International perspectives on early childhood education and development


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