- Many parents can only give their child full attention ‘once or twice a week’
- Saira Khan, celebrity entrepreneur, supports charity week
- 59% of children surveyed wish they could have more time with mum or dad
MORE THAN one in ten parents of 6 to 10-year-olds believe they only manage to give full attention to their child ‘once or twice a week or less’ – according to a new survey revealing the major time-related stresses English families face.
This rises to almost one in five (18 per cent) among parents of ten year olds, according to the research released to mark the start of Parents’ Week (October 22 to 28).
Children were also asked for their views as part of the survey, carried out by Childwise for the Family and Parenting Institute. Researchers found that the clear majority (59%) of children aged 6 to 10 wished they could have more time with their mum or dad.
This compared to only four in ten (42%) who would like to spend more time with their friends. Children were divided about whether to spend more time with siblings, with 24 per cent wanting more and 17 per cent wanting less.
The survey showed that parents in the south were even more time-poor than others around the country. 74% of children in the south and London said they wished for more time with their mum or dad. This compared to just 54% in the North and 45% in the Midlands and East of the country.
But the survey also revealed good news for parents – they are actually spending more time with their children than previous generations of parents did – even though they work more hours.
45 per cent of parents believe they spend more time with their child than their parents did with them when they were young. Only 13% think that they spend less time with their child now than their parents did with them. This is despite a tripling of UK mothers in employment since 1951.
Furthermore, a clear majority (64 per cent) of today’s parents agreed that ‘it’s not the amount of time you spend with your child that matters, it’s the quality of that time.’
That’s why the chosen theme for Parents’ Week 2012 is Make A Moment – a celebration of those moments that make being a parent and being a child so worthwhile.
Saira Khan, entrepreneur and celebrity working mother, said: “Busy British families understandably wish they could have more time together. But parents are doing a better job than they think. They should be congratulated for finding more time with their children than previous generations ever did.”
Saira added: “This Parents’ Week, let’s acknowledge the massive contribution that busy parents make to their children’s lives – and let’s all make a moment for our children when we can. Whether you have an hour, half an hour, or just five minutes, sharing a moment when you can with your child is what it’s all about. It’s about letting them know you love them and giving them as much as possible within the time you have.”
Dr Katherine Rake, CEO of the Family and Parenting Institute, said: “Evidence shows children need dedicated time with their parents if they are to realise their potential. It is often the simple things that make a lasting impression on children.”
She added: “We know that parents today are under a great deal of pressure. Workers in this country put in longer hours than most other European nations - and evidence shows the hours are getting longer in these difficult economic times. Greater flexible working rights are the key to ensuring parents can spend the time with their children that is so central to their healthy development and wellbeing.”
The survey was carried out by Childwise who are leading experts in interviewing children - http://www.childwise.co.uk/. They interviewed 255 boys and girls aged 6 to 10. They also interviewed one parent of each child. It was on-street or in-home interviews, carried out by experienced interviewers. The fieldwork was carried out in September 2012, across all English regions.
13% of parents of 6 to 10-year-olds believe they only manage to give full attention to their child ‘once or twice a week or less.’
The survey also revealed:
- Three in ten parents find it hardest to give their child their full attention at breakfast time (31%), or more generally when they are with other people (29%). A quarter find that when they are in the car they can attend to their child (25%), whilst one in six (16%) find it hard when they come home from school. Just over one in ten mentioned bedtime (13%) or mealtimes (12%).
See www.parentsweek.org.uk for more details.
Give your support by donating a ‘like’ at www.facebook.com/parentsweek - and finding out about our range of Parents’ Week competitions.
Parents - tell us how you make a moment with your child! Use the hashtag #MakeAMoment on Twitter, or let us know on our Facebook page.