Over half of parents say they don’t spend enough time with their children while many children are missing out on opportunities to develop essential skills such as riding a bike or swimming, according to new research from online parenting community www.quib.ly.
The survey looked at how parents with primary school aged children spend their time together and found over half said they didn’t have enough time to spend with their children.
Time poor parents only find time for the most pressing matters – two in three say they’re able to help with homework, for instance, yet only half of parents said they were able to read to children each week.
The survey also found one third of eight year-olds can’t swim confidently despite that being the age at which children are allowed to swim alone.
In addition almost half of parents said their seven-year-old couldn’t confidently cross the road and four children in ten can’t ride a bike by the age of seven.
Holly Seddon, editor-in-chief for www.quib.ly, thinks that as increasing numbers of parents are both forced to work longer hours it could be impacting on the speed at which children develop important life skills: “There are ever more demands on parents’ time. More than half of the parents we surveyed said they didn’t have enough time to spend with their children. It’s important that instead of being made to feel guilty, parents can access help in a way that fits into modern life. Luckily there are many options out there and technology can play its part too.”
Seddon offers the following tips from the Quibly community of experts to maximise quality time with children: “Some local swimming pools offer intensive swimming courses, which my own kids have taken. If you’re able to take a half-term off work, this is the ideal time to get kids up and swimming. This skill can then be practiced at weekends when you have a little more time.
“Reading together can seem like a chore to both tired parents and kids, but teachers assure me that it’s not just about what you read, it’s about reading itself. It’s great to snuggle up at the weekend when you have a bit more time and read through the book provided in the book bag from school. But day to day, read anything together. Get them to read out cooking instructions while they help you make tea or road signs on the school run. I use a lot of e-books with my youngest child, as these often have read along features but don’t need my constant attention.
“Talk through what you’re doing, all the time. Teaching road safety need not be a mission, it can be a normal part of day-to-day walking about. Talk through what you’re doing at the side of the road every time you cross and get kids to say it along with you.”