Survey shows UK parents spend just 49 minutes a day with their children

A survey of 3,000 parents and 1,000 children has revealed that parents spend on average 49 minutes with their children each day. 68% of parents identified that money was one of the reasons for this.

Dr Rosemary Keenan, Chief Executive of the Catholic Children's Society (Westminster), said: "This is an alarmingly short period of time for children to spend with their parents. Children need to experience the love and warmth of family life if they are to grow up to become emotionally stable and mature adults. One of the key ways in which this is done is by spending time together with a parent or both parents.

"It is sadly a symptom of modern life that parents have to work such long hours in order to afford a higher standard of living or to make ends meet. Our society needs to understand that children are often the first casualties when we get the work life balance wrong and that cannot be good for the longer term future of a healthy society."

The survey results, which highlighted the need for families to spend more time together, were released in advance of National Family Week. The results also revealed that 66% of children were happy to spend more time at home with their family, rather than going out.

Rosemary Keenan added: "There is a great temptation, on the part of parents, to either think that their children need material goods to make them happy, benefit from extra tuition to achieve academic excellence, or group activities outside of the home to fend off boredom. Our experience at the Catholic Children's Society, from working with children in counselling situations, reveals that they need relational stability and the self esteem which comes from feeling valued for who they are and unconditionally loved by their parents. Such love is hard to convey in 49 minutes per day. No wonder the children in the survey were happy to spend more time with family members."
The Catholic Children's Society (Westminster) was established in 1859 and provides child care services to assist children and families in need, irrespective of race or faith, in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster. With over150 years of experience of working with children and families we recognise that families come in all shapes and sizes and from widely ranging cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds.

The Society  helps children and families who have found themselves in domestic, relationship and personal crisis and who need immediate support. Its concern is to enable children to have a positive experience of childhood and to prevent long-term emotional and behavioural problems caused by poor experiences of family life. The Society offers families access to community based social work services, counselling; play therapy, psychotherapeutic and mediation projects.

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