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 among parents of ten year olds.
Children were also asked for their views as part of the survey 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.
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, compared to 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. 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%) 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.’
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 to spend with their children than previous generations ever did.”
Saira added: “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. 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.”