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Pushy Parents And Overworked Kids

Shattered kids are 'working' for up to 53 hours a week, according to our most recent survey.

TheBabyWebsite was shocked to find that pushy parents are over-timetabling their children with extra-curricular activities in addition to their school commitments. This means that many exhausted children are actually working harder than the average parent, who only completes a 35 hour week at work.

The average child already completes 32.5 hours a week at school Monday to Friday, as well as six hours of homework each week. But on top of this, parents enrol kids into at least three activities a week, such as language lessons, sports clubs and music lessons. This adds a further three hours to an already exhausting timetable of events. In addition, most parents say they actively read with their children for at least 44 minutes a day – or five hours and 10 minutes a week. And finally, to make absolutely sure their child has the very best chance of getting ahead, the average parents also spend one hour a day, or seven hours a week, teaching their children through play.

We found these figures to be quite incredible, and they seem to indicate that children are losing out on a real childhood. Most parents will be able to relate to the findings, but how many will admit they too enrol their child into every class going and try to be as active and hands-on as possible with their kids? In our opinion there's a very fine line between giving a child the attention and time they deserve, and overloading them with information and learning.

Our poll reveals that 85 per cent of parents feel it is right to try and educate their children as much as possible when they are not in the school environment and 54 per cent admit they have always been concerned about their child's development, worrying whether they know as much as other children in their age group.

At least half of the parents surveyed have spent hours and hours trying to teach their children how to recite their alphabet, numbers, days of the week, cities and months of the year. Catching a ball, swimming, and knowing how to cook basic foods are also high on the list of things parents think children should know by the time they go to school. However, 36 per cent of those polled admit they worry their child does too much, and 53 per cent have considered that their child should spend more time having fun. But 27 per cent of parents have at some point taken their child out of classes such as swimming, learning French or piano, claiming their child looked exhausted from all the activities they were doing.

Eight in 10 parents are convinced their child won't know they are learning through play, as they make everything they do fun and 89 per cent say they genuinely believe they are trying to do the best by their child in the long run. Parents often don't realise the importance of learning through play and as a result can end up encouraging or even pushing their children into as many organised activities as they can.

The average child's weekly timetable

Attends school - 32.5 hours a week
Homework - 6 hours a week
Three classes - 3 hours a week
Active read to / with - 5 hours and 10 minutes a week
Being taught through play - 7 hours a week

Total time spent working 53 hours and 40 minutes a week.

Sept 09
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