Families spend three hours quality time in week
The pressures of modern life mean Scottish families are getting, on average, just 174 minutes of quality time together from Monday to Friday, with nearly a quarter admitting they spend less than an hour with their loved ones.
An increased number of after-school activities, combined with long working hours and gruelling commutes mean families have little time together on an average working day.
Time-poor parents hope to make up by packing a year’s worth of quality time into a short break, according to the research from holiday lettings website HouseTrip.
Nearly two-thirds of parents say the thing they most look forward to about their next holiday is spending quality time with their children.
However, the majority also say they find it too difficult to travel abroad as a young family, curtailing the “globetrotting” they indulged in before having children, the report said.
“That so many families are spending less than three hours together in the week is a reflection on how busy modern life has become,” said psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos, who helped with the research.
“The summer months have traditionally been the time when families reconnect and focus on proper ‘us time’,” added Dr Papadopoulos.
Tina Woolnough, spokeswoman for the National Parent Forum of Scotland, said more after-school activities for children, as well as added pressures on parents’ work life and commute, often made it difficult to find time to spend together as a family.
“People have got so many pressures on their time now that it is hard to create space for family life,” she said.
“I think, especially in cities, there are so many activities on offer for children to do, even when they are quite young, that it is hard to fit it all in. It is not that people aren’t spending their time in productive ways and learning new skills, it is just that all members of the family are busier and have different commitments.”
Ms Woolnough added: “That is why you see families placing more importance on holidays and perhaps on weekends too, when they can deliberately create time together as a family.
“But especially as children get older, your lives do tend to diverge and you have different interests – it is just part of your family growing up.”
Despite parents claiming to look forward to the family holiday as a time to spend with both their partner and children, the report found that seven in ten parents admit they sometimes “miss the freedom they had on holiday” before having children.
On average, new mothers and fathers wait until their first child is 18 months old before taking him or her on holiday, with one in three waiting longer.
Arnaud Bertrand, founder of HouseTrip.com, said: “Parents want to spend ‘us time’ with their children as a family, but they don’t want to compromise the quality time they used to get with each other as a couple.”