One of the more worrying stories I read yesterday was that the average parent spends 56 minutes a day playing one-on-one with their children. And more than a quarter of mothers and fathers spend just 30 minutes’ quality playtime with their progeny. But while concerning, the report, sadly, was not surprising to me.
To be completely honest, as a father of two young children I was amazed that some parents managed to spend so long with them! With a job like mine I have the good fortune of being able to take my children to school and nursery most mornings, but I don’t get back home until the wee hours. My wife works part-time and often goes to work early in order that she can deal with two very tired cherubs after school. If she is unable to, we are lucky enough to rely on the goodwill of friends and grandparents.
Because we both work long hours, any “spare” time which we have at home is mostly spent washing, cooking and cleaning – normally while the kids run riot around us. Excluding the mornings, which any parent will know are governed by their own little chaos theory, my children are at home with one of us, awake, for about two hours a day. Trying to find an hour to spend with each of them is near impossible.
And while I would love to spend more time playing with my children during the week, several of my friends are envious of my time with them. Many leave for work before the patter of little feet, and return to snoring angels.
In reality, the only way I – or my wife – could average 56 minutes a day would be to spend all weekend with my little “darlings” – and I wouldn’t wish that upon anybody!