Parental involvement is extremely important for the language development of preschool children. With changes in family economics and structures in recent years in Taiwan, parental involvement has also gradually changed. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate the current state of parental involvement with three-year-old children and the socioeconomic status (SES) of two-parent families. The study examines how parental involvement and SES influence children's language development, and whether parental involvement can mediate the relationship between SES and children's language development.
This study utilized data from the first wave parent questionnaire of the Kids in Taiwan: National Longitudinal Study of Child Development & Care (KIT) database. The subjects were two-parent families with 36-month-old children, and a total of 1,815 responses were selected for analysis. Structural equation modeling was employed to analyze the causal relationship between children's language development and the two factors, parental involvement and family’s socioeconomic background.
This study divided parental involvement into two types: “childcare labor and living routine rules” and “parent-child interaction.” We found that the degree of parental involvement in the two types of parental work has reached the “frequent” level, which shows that the degree of parental involvement has changed after changes in family finances and structure. As far as the relationship between parental involvement, family’s socioeconomic background, and children’s language development is concerned, this study found that “parent- child interaction” in “parental involvement” is the most important factor that directly affects children’s language development. Parents’ interaction with their children and the family’s socioeconomic background both affect children's language development. Specifically, parent-child interaction was found to have a relatively high degree of influence on children's language development (β=.27), followed by family socioeconomic background (β=.17). Parent-child interaction was found to partially mediate between SES and children’s language development..
This study was the first survey investigating the effect of parental involvement and socioeconomic background on the language development in 36-month-old children with a representative sample from Taiwan. Structural Equation Modeling was employed to compare and analyze the causal relationship between different types of parental involvement and their impact on children’s language development. Findings of this study can serve as a guide to improve policies on child language development and family education in Taiwan, and help parents understand their optimal roles in their children’s language development.