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Parents’ main regret from their child’s early years is working too much, according to a new poll.
The study of 2,000 parents found that of the top 20 regrets, parents mainly regretted working too much, not playing with their child more often and waiting too long before taking them to the pool or teaching them to swim.
Constantly worrying about the little things, not going on more holidays and not capturing enough moments on photos or videos were also in the top twenty.
Seven out of ten parents also admitted they took their youngster’s childhood for granted, with more than two thirds saying it is easy to forget they won’t be young forever.
Lauren Revell, from Huggies Little Swimmers, which commissioned the research, said: ‘’Things can seem simpler with hindsight, and it seems you definitely live and learn when you’re a parent.
‘’When your little ones are young, it’s easy to imagine your baby being that age forever. ‘’It’s only a few years down the line, as your children are getting older, that you really start to look back and wish you had done some things differently.
‘’When it comes to parenting, many mums and dads wish they could spend a little more quality time with their little ones, but given the pressures of daily life sometimes these opportunities can be lost.
‘’Lots of parents have regrets because it’s very easy to look backwards – that being said, it’s never too late to change those.’’
Researchers found that more than three quarters of parents have at least one thing they regret doing, or not doing, during their child’s first few years, with two thirds admitting they would do things different if they could relive the period again.
Spending too much time at work was the biggest regret, followed by worrying too much about the little things which didn’t really matter. Not playing with them enough, not going on more family holidays and not taking enough photos over the years completed the top five.
More than half of parents also said they regret not spending more quality time with their children when they were younger, and 63% of parents wish they did more sporting activities with their child.
The study also found that 46% of parents hold regrets because they have realised they will never get those early years back, while 18% worry their child’s life might have been affected by something they did or didn’t do.
A quarter also worry that their youngster’s childhood wasn’t as fun as it could have been and 17% said they didn’t enjoy their child’s early years as much as they should have.
Almost six in ten of those parents who have had more than one child said they did things differently with their second child to make sure they didn’t end up with the same regrets. More than a quarter admit to trying to amend their mistakes with advice they had given friends, so they didn’t feel the same way.