Family | Did You Know

We Spend More Time With Our Kids Than Our Parents Spent With Us

While you may have trouble finding the time to balance work, your relationships, cleaning your home and spending time with your kids, parents take solace in knowing you're dividing your time better than the previous generation.

Middle-class parents are now spending a lot more time with their children, a recent study has shown.

In a study involving 68,532 mothers and 53,739 fathers in the USA, Canada, the UK, Denmark, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain and Slovenia, they found that parents were spending more one-on-one time with their kids.

They broke it down to middle-class parents who had a university education and not, and those results were surprising.

The analysis was done by researchers at the University of California, Irvine.

One analysis showed that mothers spent 54 minutes a day caring for their children in 1965, compared to 104 minutes in 2012. Men spend far less time than women, but the number is drastically higher than 50 years ago. In the past men were shown to spend 16 minutes each day caring for their children, whereas now it has jumped to 59 minutes daily.

“Time spent with children involved everything from preparing their meals and snacks to feeding and bathing them, changing diapers and clothes, putting them to bed, getting up in the middle of the night, unpaid babysitting, providing medical care, reading and playing with them, as well as supervising and helping with homework,”  said Judith Treas, UCI Chancellor’s Professor of sociology.

It was also discovered the a gap opened between working-class and middle-class parents. In 1965, mothers with and without a university education spent the same amount of time on childcare, whereas in 2012 the more educated ones are spending half an hour more with their kids.

"According to economic theory, higher wages should discourage well-educated parents from foregoing work to spend extra time with youngsters," said Judith Treas, UC Irvine Chancellor's Professor of Sociology. "Also, they have the money to pay others to care for their children."

College-educated moms spent an estimated 123 minutes each day on child care, compared with 94 minutes spent by less educated mothers. Fathers with a college degree spent about 74 minutes a day with their kids, while less educated dads averaged 50 minutes.

“The time parents spend with children is regarded as critical for positive cognitive, behavioral and academic outcomes,” Treas said. “Contemporary fathers – having more egalitarian gender views – want to be more involved in their children’s lives than their own dads were. These beliefs have taken hold among the best-educated residents of Western countries and are also diffusing to their counterparts who have less schooling.”

Working parents, it's time to let go of the guilt. This news is a refreshing change to everything we feel when we leave our kids each day.

What do you think of the statistics? Were you surprised? Share with us in the comments.

Source: Economist / SunnySkyz / Phys.org / UCI News