New research from online parenting community Quib.ly suggests that children with busy parents could be missing out on the opportunity to develop essential skills.
One third of eight year-olds (31%) can’t swim confidently despite that being the age at which children are allowed to swim alone.
In addition, almost half of parents said their seven-year-old couldn’t confidently cross the road (45%) and four children in ten (39%) can’t ride a bike by the age of seven.
The survey also looked at how parents with primary school aged children spend their time together.
Time poor parents only find time for the most pressing matters as two in three say they’re able to help with homework, yet only half (50%) of parents said they were able to read to children each week.
Holly Seddon, editor-in-chief for Quib.ly, thinks that as increasing numbers of parents are both forced to work longer hours it could be impacting on the speed at which children develop important life skills:
“There are ever more demands on parents’ time. More than half of the parents we surveyed said they didn’t have enough time to spend with their children. It’s important that instead of being made to feel guilty, parents can access help in a way that fits into modern life. Luckily there are many options out there and technology can play its part too.”
Holly Seddon offers the following tips from the Quibly community of experts to maximise quality time with children:
“It’s great to snuggle up at the weekend when you have a bit more time and read through the book provided in the book bag from school. But day to day, read anything together. Get them to read out cooking instructions while they help you make tea or road signs on the school run.
“Talk through what you’re doing, all the time. Teaching road safety need not be a mission, it can be a normal part of day-to-day walking about. Talk through what you’re doing at the side of the road every time you cross and get kids to say it along with you.
“Use tech to help. The Safety Aware app (£2.49 iOS), for example, teaches children the rules of safe crossing, in a fun cartoony style that sinks in while they’re having fun.”