Parents are spending a lot more time with their children, according to a study that compares parenting from 1965 to 2012. In 10 of 11 Western nations (France is the outlier), mothers and fathers have increased their parenting time significantly.
“When a parent spends more time with a child, it has been shown to improve his or her language skills, brain development, social behavior, and more,” writes Megan Scudellari in the Boston Globe.
In 1965, mothers spent an average of 54 minutes per day on activities with their children: feeding them, reading to them, putting them to bed. Moms in 2012, however, averaged almost twice that, spending 104 minutes per day with their offspring. Fathers had an even more dramatic increase: Their time with kiddos nearly quadrupled, from a daily average of just 16 minutes in 1965 to 59 minutes in 2012.
Educated parents were more involved with their children, the study found.
College-educated moms averaged 123 minutes daily on child care, compared with 94 minutes spent by less educated mothers. Fathers with a college degree spent about 74 minutes a day with their kids, while less educated dads averaged 50 minutes.
The “intensive parenting” trend is spreading from well-educated to less-educated parents, said co-author Judith Treas, a UC-Irvine sociology professor. “The time parents spend with children is regarded as critical for positive cognitive, behavioral and academic outcomes.”
Intensive parenting can be exhausting, warns Scary Mommy.