Did you know that there’s some recent research suggesting that parents are spending more time interacting with their kids now than generations before? In 1965, according to data from the Americans’ Use of Time Study, mothers spent 10 hours weekly on childcare as a primary activity. Fathers spent 3 hours.
Fast forward to a recent analysis by economists Garey and Valerie Ramey who found that college-educated moms now spend 21.2 hours on childcare. Not to leave out fathers, Betsey Stevenson and Dan Sacks at the University of Pennsylvania calculated that college-educated dads are now up to 9.6 hours per week.
Wonder why parents have more time now? More research shows that women are spending less time cooking and cleaning, while men are working fewer hours than our grandparents did.
And in case you’re wondering, the Ramey study doesn’t even count the hours mothers and fathers spend “around” their children — like at the dinner table or doing separate activities in the same room. Instead, the survey tracks only activities in which the parent is directly involved in the child’s care.
“It’s taking them to school, helping with homework, bathing them, playing catch with them in the back yard,” said a co-author of the leisure-time paper, Erik Hurst, an economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. “Those are the activities that have increased over the last 15 to 20 years.”
But still, very little time is spent on religious activity as a family if you compare with bigger categories like sleeping, eating, traveling, and watching TV or movies. So how do we encourage parents that might be engaging more than ever to increase the time they spend in developing a family of faith?
Does any of this research surprise you? How do you help families weave faith into their daily life?