UCLA Sloan Center on Everyday Lives of Families Working Paper No. 85 2008
This paper examines forms of sibling care interactions among two dual income-earning families in the Los Angeles area. The children in this study demonstrate high competency levels and the ability to match the feeling states with their siblings emotionally and physically, through behavioral modalities such as vocal, facial, gestural or movement. They demonstrate the ability to recognize the time when their younger siblings need care and attention, often without being asked by an adult, or without adult supervision. Through these interactions, children learn to take the perspective of their younger sibling, and develop important social skills. As children care for their siblings, they free parents for other activities, and provide important contributions to family well-being.