College-educated parents now spending twice as much as time with their children than less-educated parents, according to Garey Ramey and Valerie A. Ramey of the University of California at San Diego. But before the chorus of “Doh” starts, these parents haven’t just re- discovered the joys of Lego, Play-dough and rolling around on the floor because it’s so groovy. It’s fun with a purpose, as the phrase goes. Ramey and Ramey found that:
increased scarcity of college slots appears to have induced heightened rivalry among parents, taking the form of more hours spent on college preparatory activities. In other words, the rise in childcare time resulted from a ‘rug rat race’ for admission to good colleges.
The study will be presented at the Spring 2010 Brookings Papers on Economic Activity.
Evidently, if you’ve got to hang out with short people who drool, it had better pay off. Are less-educated parents too busy at work or have they discovered a secret to happy family life–letting kids be kids? I’m told that I didn’t play as a child, and my own efforts as a Play-mobile mommy were limited to saying things in funny voices as my kids tolerated my presence on the rug. My husband took them on lots of field trips to Pep Boys and bike shops–does that count?