A nationwide report reveals the extent to which busy parents are missing out on their child’s most precious years, with an average of 10 per cent of working mums (and the same percentage of dads), now leaving the house before their children wake up, leaving the breakfast routine and school run to a co-parent, nanny or child-minder.
In fact, as many as one in five parents (19 per cent) claim they cannot remember the last time the family sat down together for breakfast together, while only a quarter of modern families (24 per cent) now sit down together for breakfast during the week, according to the study.
The survey also shows that one in ten British dads NEVER make it home in time to eat dinner with their kids (compared to one in twenty working mums), while seven percent of all working parents say they frequently miss their child’s bedtime because of their job.
The nationwide study of 2,000 parents and their children found a significant 23 per cent of mums and dads feel under “constant” time pressure as a family.
According to the findings, 38 per cent of all working parents saying they do not get home in the evening until 7pm or later. And this is having an emotional impact on children, as 93 per cent of the kids surveyed said they wish they had more time with their parents.
The study from Nutella found that long working hours (34 per cent) are the main reason parents struggle to spend quality time with their children, with more than one in ten (11 percent) admitting busy schedules mean they miss out on family time. A staggering two thirds of the parents polled, claim they see less of their kids than their own mums and dads did of them, when they were young.
Other things which get in the way of family life include the burden of household chores (34 percent) and the intrusive nature of screens (24 percent) as well as the long commute to and from work (16 percent). And it’s not just parents who feel robbed of family time, as half of the children surveyed said they would like to spend more time with their parents before and after work, and almost two thirds said they would love to eat more meals with their family.
In fact, the study by Nutella found that the average British working parent shares just SEVEN meals with their children during the working week, and 38 percent do not see their child until after 7pm most evenings. But according to leading family psychologist Linda Blair, who was involved in the study, even a 15-minute breakfast would increase family happiness levels drastically.
“What we do in our first hour after waking sets our mood for the rest of the day. For time-poor parents, even just 15 minutes sharing a meal with children is enough to increase happiness and family bonding.
“Keep phones and devices away from the table, share happy memories to improve everyone’s mood and encourage everyone to set a positive, achievable goal for the day ahead. I encourage all families to try out the formula for spending time together and see how their happiness improves.”
Celebrity mum of three Myleene Klass also comments on the research: “Spending quality time with my family is so important to me, especially at breakfast time to make sure everyone is feeling prepared for the day ahead.
“The girls really enjoy telling me their goals for the day ahead and I love to hear all about it. In today’s rushed, modern world it’s so important to carve out dedicated time for family whenever we can. I find that even just 15 minutes of family time in the morning makes us all feel more positive for the day ahead”.
“In our family, we do some prep for breakfast the night before including setting out the table to make sure we have enough time for family bonding with new baby Apollo. I also like to involve my daughters Ava and Hero in preparing their own breakfast, I really believe that confidence in the kitchen is a fantastic life skill for children to learn early.”