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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Parents spend more time with kids

My mother, my sister and me (the fat baby) in 1952.

Parents — especially educated parents — spend a lot more time caring for their children than in the past in wealthy countries, concludes a new study, reports The Economist.

 One analysis of 11 rich countries estimates that the average mother spent 54 minutes a day caring for children in 1965 but 104 minutes in 2012. Men do less than women, but far more than men in the past: their child-caring time has jumped from 16 minutes a day to 59. . . . The exception is France, where the stereotype of a bourgeois couple sipping wine and ignoring their remarkably well-behaved progeny appears to be accurate.

Educated mothers spend about 30 minutes more on child care per day than working-class mothers, the study found. In 1965, there was no difference.

Mothers who help too much with elementary-school homework undercut their children’s ability to work independently and stick with a task, concludes a no-big-surprise Finnish study. If children are allowed to work on their own, they build persistence.

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