Why won’t you play with me?

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Playtime with mum and dad is less than an hour a day

We all know being a parent is a tough old job – juggling so many demands on time and priorities. Just working to pay the bills eats into the time we get with our children.

Research has found that the average busy parents are spending just 56 minutes a day playing one to one with their children. That’s less than an episode of Britain’s Got Talent!

Even parents of children as young as 0 – 2 years of age can spare an average of only 62 minutes. More than one quarter of mums and dads polled spend just 30 minutes or less on quality playtime with toys like puzzles, jigsaws or craft sets.

High-tech toys are viewed as an easy solution to playtime troubles, with well over  a quarter of mums and dads putting on a DVD, close to one in 5 giving kids games consoles and one in six give them a smart phone or tablet to play with.

But it isn’t what we know parents want – 3/4 of mums and dads think traditional playtime is better. The vast majority would like more time to play properly with their little ones, and believe this is what their children prefer too.

Parenting expert Dr Miriam Stoppard, spokesperson for Galt Toys which conducted the research, said: “Parents have a tough job under difficult circumstances. A parent is a child’s first teacher and playing with babies and toddlers is absolutely crucial to their early development. Every time a baby plays, it thinks. And every time it thinks it develops half a million brain connections.”

Sadly parents are losing confidence at playing, the majority (76%) often feeling self conscious and inadequate.  Nearly half of parents (49%) felt envious or inadequate in comparison to other parents. And 1/3 think parents in general have just forgotten how to play with their kids. Mums and dads are giving themselves a hard time over this!

Technology is impacting on play. 65% of mums and dads felt that demands from work, emails, social media and texts on a daily basis was resulting in less ‘child-time’.

In fact 93% of people have seen parents playing with smart phones instead of their children and the majority, 60%, think they should switch the phone off and concentrate on their child instead.

Dr Miriam Stoppard adds: “Mums and dads should trust their own instincts and avoid comparisons with other parents and children which is damaging to their confidence. Playing with your child should be fun, not a chore, and it is easy to do after a few tips.”

It is a shame to hear children are watching TV or playing with gadgets instead of playing with their parents which is so much more beneficial. As we’re all getting busier than ever, just finding time can be an issue. But there are some great traditional toys that can help, and the new Dr Miriam @ Galt range even comes with special play guides with tips which will boost playtime confidence! Find your inner child and lose yourself in that feeling, so we can all turn these statistics around!

Research conducted amongst 3,000 parents of children aged 0-10 during March 2013.

So how much time do you get to properly play with your child? Let’s free our inner children and interact with fun traditional games! It’s such a great way to help little ones develop vital key skills.  Help us see that the days of play are not over by sending your family tips, whether it is a ’make & do’ or a treasure hunt – we want to hear about them. Please send all ideas to our Facebook page or tweet us @GaltToys