UK working parents spent just two hours a day with their children during half-term

A survey conducted by a UK conference call provider highlighted that over half of the UK’s working parents spent just two hours a day with their children during half-term. The survey, which had 2,000 respondents, reported that 57% of British working parents spent an average of just two hours during the week with their children for activities like homework, dining together and watching TV.

The survey results further stated that working dads across the UK had the privilege of spending more time with their children, with 41% spending at least three hours an evening together. However, only 30% of working mums could profess to do the same.

Compared to the UK, working parents in Sweden and Germany are better placed at taking time out for their children during the working week, with an average of 4 hours and 3.5 hours respectively. “With the rise in technology to facilitate smarter working, we’re able to remain productive when away from the office which means more hours spent at home during important times like half term and other school holidays,” says James Downes, MD of Powwownow, who commissioned the survey.

Ironing out the wrinkles in parental time with children

“As parents, we want to support our children through many milestones in their lives, whether that’s starting school, starring in their school play or preparing for important exams. But balancing this support alongside the demands of work can be very challenging…” – Nikki Slowey, Programme Director, Family Friendly Working Scotland.

Working parents are pulled in many directions and it can become difficult to accomplish everything or even be mentally present when with their children. However, there are a few ways parents can optimise the time they spend with them.

Involve your children in your daily schedule

Household chores

You may have a packed schedule once you reach home in the evening – fixing dinner, doing the laundry, setting the table, putting stamps on those envelopes and so on.  So, how about involving your children in these daily chores and turning it into family time? Compete with them to see who gets the most done in the least possible time. Reward them with an extra piece of chocolate or a scoop of ice cream. Of course, you could do all these tasks faster and neater by yourself, but involving them makes them feel more connected to you and helps you bond better.

Food shopping

How many times have you reached home only to realise that you’ve forgotten to tick off ‘food shopping’ from your to-do list? This could be another opportunity to spend time with your children and accomplish an important task at the same time. Why not take them along and let them choose the colour of apples or their favourite flavour of yogurt? If they insist on buying some processed foods or naughty treats, ask them if their choice will make them healthier or better at a sport or hobby they like.

Besides helping them make a healthy choice, it also gives you the chance to teach them numbers, colour recognition, budgeting and other such valuable skills.

Post-dinner walks

Walks are a great time to bond with your younger family members. If time permits, take a short walk with your children after dinner – preferably an hour before bedtime. Walking will not only fulfil your daily exercise quota but create special moments which would otherwise have been lost to TV and digital devices. Get your children ready for bed– teeth brushed, pyjamas on – and then go out for a stroll around the neighbourhood.

However, ensure that children don’t munch on snacks or become too excited along the way – instead take a leisurely walk while talking about how their day was.

Playtime

Setting some time aside for playing with your children is important for their development and your relationship with them. Though it may not be possible to play with them every day, make family play at least a weekly activity. For children, playtime is essential, and parents make excellent playmates. Get involved in their make-believe games or video games which mimic sports like tennis, football etc. Such play sessions bring laughter and great memories to children, something they will thank you for later in their lives.

If balancing your work and spending time with your children seems like a Herculean task, you might want to consider being a ‘mom-preneur’ where you can be a work-at-home professional and spend quality time with your family.

At Arise, we offer exciting work from home opportunities that connect you to Fortune 500 and other large companies. Get in touch with us today to better manage quality time with children and building your own work from home business.