Many children are working longer hours than their parents, with some active for over 46 hours a week, according to a new survey.
Parents are creating ambitious timetables for their offspring, with extra-curricular activities in addition to school commitments, according to the research by Center Parcs.
This means some children are actually working harder than parents – who work an average 37.5 hours a week.
On average, children complete 30 hours and 50 minutes a week at school Monday to Friday, as well as seven hours and 51 minutes of clubs and homework.
Reading with parents daily also adds a further five hours and 49 minutes a week on average.
The study of 2,000 parents also found that the average child helps with housework for up to an hour and 37 minutes each week.
“We commissioned this report to further understand family life and what challenges parents and children are facing and overcoming, so we can always ensure we’re offering what they need,” says Colin Whaley, marketing director of Center Parcs.
Center Parcs commissioned Channel 4 child psychologist Dr Sam Wass to develop a Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for free time in response to the findings – which equates to three hours and 51 minutes every day.
The RDA is based on three hours on a week day and six hours a day at the weekend. The free time allows children to use their imagination and develop creative thinking, explains Dr Wass.
“Many parents are desperate to do the right thing for their children - we shuttle them back and forth from school, to football, to an after-school club, and then get them home and sit and ensure they do their homework.
“But research suggests it’s much more beneficial for children if their time is not always so structured. It’s the down-time, when there is not so much going on and the child has to entertain themselves, when they do their best learning.There is a huge amount of research that suggests that this child-led, unstructured free play is vital for stimulating imagination and creativity, as well as helping the child to become more self-sufficient,” says Dr Wass.
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