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The aims of this study were to explore and compare children’s adaptive behaviors toward new environment. Purposive sampling was used to select children aged between 1-4 years participated in the child development center, Southern Thailand, at least one month before moving to the new center. Three groups of children were purposively selected based on room arrangement: Group 1 age 1 - 1½ years (n = 15), group 2 age more than 1½ - 2½ years (n = 21), and group 3 age more than 2½ - 4 years (n = 31). Data were collected using the Children’s Adaptive Behaviors toward New Environment Observation Checklist. This checklist was tested for content validity and for the reliability, yielding inter-rater coefficient of 0.89.
The results revealed that the most of children’s adaptive behaviors toward new environment in each group included playing with their friends as usual (Group 1), interested in running or exploring rooms in the new center (Group 2), and asking for parents to hold or take them to the room (Group 3). The mean ranks of children’s adaptive behaviors of all groups after moving to the new center were higher than that of before moving especially in the first week after moving. Significant differences of the overall children’s adaptive behaviors when comparing before and after moving were found only in Groups 2 and 3. Significant differences of the mean ranks of children’s adaptive behaviors in Group 2 and 3 were found when comparing between: 1) the week before moving and the first week after moving, 2) the first week and the second week after moving, and 3) the first week and the third week after moving. In conclusion, moving to the new environment affected adaptive behaviors of children. Thus, parents or caregivers should concern and understand how to help children to adapt when they move to new environment.