29    Jun 20142 comments

Fathers: More quality time

Spending time with family is vital for maintaining a happy family with strong relationships. The more time you spend together, the better chance you have of bonding over quality experiences.

Today’s fathers are spending more time with their children than ever, and are becoming more and more involved in family childcare.

Children want their parents to spend time with them and to show interest in their day-to-day lives. They will remember quality time as happy memories.

Charles Francis Adams (1807-1886), the son of President John Adams, and a US displomat, once wrote in his diary: "Went fishing with my son today—a day wasted." His son Brook’s entry on the same day read: "Went fishing with my father—the most wonderful day of my life."

According to a recent study by Dr. Almudena Sevilla of the University of London and Cristina Borra of the University of Seville, fathers are spending seven times more time with their children than they did in the 1970s.

Sevilla and Borra say “Forty years ago, men spent an average of five minutes a day with their offspring. Today, working fathers' quality time has increased to 35 minutes a day."

A similar research study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2010, found that fathers have almost tripled the amount of time they spend with their children since 1965. According to research, in 1965, fathers spent an average of 2.5 hours a week with their children, whereas in 2011, dads spent an average of 7.3 hours per week with their children. According to the study, fathers spend an average 7 hours a week on childcare, while mothers spend an average of 13.5 hours a week.

Fathers have been found to spend significantly less time than mothers in almost all child-care activities except for actually playing with children, where the gender gap is the smallest. Both fathers and mothers spend an average of about two hours per week in recreational-type childcare activities.

Despite the difference in the time spent with children, mothers and fathers are just as likely to find meaning in caring for their children, according to the research.

Some 46% of fathers feel they still don’t spend enough time with their children, while only 23% of mothers think they don’t spend enough time with their children. Even when time spent is not as often as they want, parents are trying to give as much time as possible to their children.

No matter how much time you are spending with your children and family, make sure to make it fun, productive, and time that you - and they - will remember!

What's your favorite way to spend time with your family? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. "Cats in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin 1974 comes to mind
  2. Esther,

    I certainly don't spend enough time with my boy. As a five year old, he is quickly realising that Dad is someone to have lots of fun with. But, I quite often try to find a reason to not spend time with him, such as chores, etc. around the house. I seem to find it a struggle to feel completely connected to him. Now that he is in Germany for 9 weeks with his mother, I know now how much I take his life for granted. He is the most wonderful young fella' and I miss him a lot. It is hard, very hard, to fit him into my working week, and so I cherish the bed time routines that allow us to get close together while we read a book and sing a song. Always a struggle getting him to the bed first!! As he starts to get older, I need to find him some extra-curricular activities, such as soccer, kung fu, orienteering, and whatever else his friends are doing. I also need to spend much more time at home with him. Perhaps I need to reintroduce gardening as a possible pursuit for us to do together, or perhaps really try hard to join in with his stories that he makes out of his toys. I don't have much of an imagination, so the latter is difficult at times, if not all the time!! I enjoy the play wrestles we do on the trampoline - those get quite serious sometimes, but at least it is teaching him boundaries!!

    There is so much about fatherhood that us men have to learn on a daily basis, and it is difficult to get this learning in this ever-increasing disconnected world that we lead with computers and mobiles. We may be connected on a virtual level, but we need to connect with families and communities on a physical level, so that us fathers can start to learn off each other, and provide support to each other - be it play dates, sports, beach, or whatever.

    "John Sparrow" mentions the song Cats in the Cradle, which was made famous by Cat Stevens in the 1970's. This song always epitomises the loss that fathers feel as they fill their lives with work and miss out on the time spent with their sons. I almost cry listening to that, and think of both my own father, and of my own fatherhood now. I could rattle off a heap of songs that provide similar stories; but, I won't do so, as I think I have said enough to bring across my feelings on this topic.

    Thanks Esther for the thought.


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