Do you think you spend enough quality time with your family? And by that we mean real interactions – talking, having fun, and just generally enjoying each other’s company. Sitting in front of the TV while you play with your phone? That doesn’t count.
So, do you?
If you said “yes”, you’re not alone. We asked 500 UK adults and 500 US adults if they feel they spend enough quality time with their families. 55.8% of UK respondents and 66% of US respondents said they do.
That might sound promising, but we’re not convinced.
We did some digging into how the average person spends their day and the results were telling. Turns out that when we factor in everything we do on a day-to-day basis there is no time left for “quality” family time. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
So what are we doing instead? And why should we be making more of an effort to make the time we do spend with our family count?
Between 2005 and 2015 our internet use doubled. We’re now spending an average of 13.4 hours a week at home browsing the internet – equivalent to just under two hours a day.
We also spend around 2.42 hours using our smartphones, and 0.78 hours a day playing computer games.
In total approximately 8 hours 41 minutes of our days are consumed by texting, talking, typing, gaming, listening or watching.
And we also spend (in the UK)…
- 7 hours 28 minutes working
- 55 minutes commuting
- 6 hours 35 minutes sleeping
- 1 hour cleaning
And in the US…
- 9 hours 24 minutes working (if the average 47 hour work week is spread out over 5 days)
- 52 minutes commuting
- 6 hours 48 minutes sleeping
- 1 hour cleaning
Add on the time we spend consuming media and in the UK that’s 1479 minutes, or 24.65 hours that we’re spending doing everything except…
Spending quality time with our families!
And in the US we spend even more time doing everything except the above – the average man packs 26.5 hours into his day and the average woman, 26.95 hours.
How then, are these two thirds of US adults fitting in quality time with their family?
FYI: watching TV “together” doesn’t count – especially if like more than 80% of us, you check your smartphone at the same time.
And if you’re thinking “what about the weekend?” the stats show little difference in how we use our free time.
A study showed that parents typically spend just 3 hours with their children over the 2-day break while over 60 per cent of parents said that when they do get together, “it’s normally spent in silence in front of the TV, at the cinema, playing computer games or glued to a mobile or tablet.”
That’s not really good enough, especially when we consider the many benefits of families spending quality time together.
- We form stronger family bonds.
- Our children perform better in school.
- They’re better behaved.
- They’re less likely to abuse drugs.
- And less likely to engage in acts of violence.
So, do you want to spend more quality time with your family? Here’s a few ideas to get you started.
- Choose activities they enjoy over activities you enjoy.
- Make a point of eating dinner together at the table.
- If you have space, designate a room (like a conservatory) specifically to family time.
- Read to your children at bedtime.
- Get the family to work together on housework and simple DIY tasks.
- Make family days out a regular event.
- And date nights with your loved one.
But most importantly of all…
- Implement a total ban on smartphones during family time!