Familieliv fra et børneperspektiv. Fællesskaber i børns liv.

Kousholt, D.
Roskilde: Roskilde Universitetscenter.


The objective of this PhD dissertation is to investigate the importance of the family for the lives of children across the daycare centre and the home. Specific questions are: 1) What is the significance of children’s daily life across the daycare centre and home for their family life? Including the significance of family for children’s life at the daycare centre. 2) How is the family day structured with regard to involving the children? Including how the structure of the family day affects the children.


The analysis results have been divided into two parts. The first part presents the results dealing with children’s participation in communities and how they structure these, and it concludes that children contribute differently to structuring communal activities, which creates opportunities and limitations for the social activities of other children. Parents see that kindergartens can offer other social possibilities than the family and therefore how parents can establish links between the daycare centre and the family is important, e.g. through their cooperation with child carers.   The second part of the analysis presents results dealing with how families organise their day-to-day lives. It is concluded that the perception of the family as the key to children’s wellbeing is a central concept for parents. For example the stronger bond experienced to the mother means that structuring of children’s needs is strongly linked to the mother role. Structuring means getting day-to-day life to work and being able to embrace the need for variation. The study suggests that the organisation is relative to what other families do. For example, organisation of the time that children spend at the institution is based on a norm that children should not spend too much time at the institution rather than being based on the actual well-being of the child. However, children's perception of whether they are picked up early or late is linked to what is happening around them, who they are playing with and how their day at the institution has been. The family appears as a characteristic community and the analyses highlight three central aspects for the family as a community: 1) to be together, 2) to go away together, and 3) to be happy together.  Parents perceive daycare as a central element in their child's social life and for the future possibilities of their child. The children's time and well-being at the institution is central to parents' impressions of their family life in general. The daycare centre’s ability to organise appropriately good conditions for children's upbringing and development is therefore essential for the well-being of the child and family. Overall, it is concluded that it is important to understand children’s subjectivity as something linked to participation across locations and the author presents a critical perspective of the dichotomy between institution life and family life.


Participants were observed at kindergartens, 24-hour observations were carried out of children at daycare centres and at home, and there were interviews with children and their parents.   Primary focus is on six children and their families. The children were 4½ to five years old at the start of the project.


Kousholt, D. (2006). Familieliv fra et børneperspektiv. Fællesskaber i børns liv. Roskilde: Roskilde Universitetscenter.

Financed by

Not disclosed