​How Much Time Do You Spend Together?

​How Much Time Do You Spend Together?
31 March 2016

Modern families enjoy just 38 minutes of quality time together on the average weekday, according to yet another new study.

A combination of work, school and a packed timetable of clubs and activities means parents and their kids have precious few hours in which to catch up, talk, play or simply hang out as a family on the average week day.

And even then, parents reckon they're fighting a losing battle against technology, with more than nine in ten saying the time they have to spend with their kids is usually disrupted by digital distractions in the form of TV, computer games, mobile phones or tablets.

Almost a third of parents, polled by Hollywood Bowl, even blame their family's reliance on technology as a reason for the lack of quality time they get to spend together.

Worryingly, more than three in ten say their kids would rather play computer games than have a family conversation or take part in a family activity.

Yes, they'd rather stare at a screen than interact with a human who loves them. I think if things reached this stage in my house I'd be banning screens until my kids had time to reassess their priorities.

I hate the thought that reliance on electronic devices is having a deleterious impact on family quality time but I know all too well how easy it is to reach that point. I looked up from my phone whilst pushing my daughter on the swings in the park the other day, only to spot her mimicking me in the most depressing way; head down, shoulders hunched, tiny hands pretending to scroll through emails on an imaginary touch-screen phone.

No wonder 83% of those polled said they want to make more of an effort to spend quality time together as a family. Me too.

The study also found that more than two in five parents worry they don't spend enough quality time with their children.

Top ten barriers to having quality time with a family

1. Household chores

2. Long, anti-social working hours

3. Children's homework

4. Children's extra-curricular activities

5. Everyone in the family is too busy on their phone/tablet or computer

6. School timetables

7. The children would rather play their computer games

8. The children would rather watch TV

9. Anti-social working hours

10. The children would rather go out to their friend's house

If this is an all-too-familiar tale in your house, we'd love to hear your tips for tackling it. How do you get everyone to put down their screens and spend more time together as a family? Come and share your thoughts in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.

TOPICS:   Parents

3 comments

  • Starmum79

    I would do anything for more time with my children. But after work we are not home until after 6 and then it's a struggle to do reading, homework and baths etc and get them in bed at a reasonable time so that we can get out of the door at 7.30am for breakfast club/ drop off at grandparents to do school runs the next day. We are all constantly exhausted. On top of this Saturday mornings are about cleaning, ballet and football and weekends we try to fit in parties and church. Quality time is actually reading my youngest a quick bedtime story and my oldest reading one to me whilst doing homework in bed. I feel that my generation are unfortunately worst off for having quality time with children due to having to work. On top of this I am in a mon-Fri job where my new boss has insisted I am full time. LIfe is pretty tiring. Not to mention trying to keep the children's time on tablets and xbox to a minimum. I'm worried I am missing out on my children's childhood and depending on their grandparents to help with school runs and look after them in the holidays. On the other hand, although my comments seem quite negative I feel positive that I am showing my children the value of money and working hard for a living so that on our smaller than average salaries we can afford a mortgage and the occasional (reasonably priced) holiday to give them an amazing childhood and life experience.

    • admin EDITOR

      Thanks very much for that Starmum79, I think you've nicely summed up the lives of many parents these days, I know it does me. Wanting to teach your children decent values plus being able to afford to treat them to things like holidays while balancing that against time spent day to day. I know I find it a constant juggling act too. Thanks very much for that. 

  • upup

    i completely agree. We suffer the cost of expensive housing, high cost of livingAnd me working in the public sector, have not received a pay rise for many many years.  This is then exacerbated by the fact that neither grandparents have any caring roles so childcare has always been expensive. 

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