do parents get the idea that if they aren’t playing with their kids, they’re not doing their job?
Dear Free-Range Kids: Have you seen the new care.com commercial? It has a little girl with a soccer ball sitting inside at a table where her parents clean. Kid goes on to say how Saturdays are for fun, and as a kid she has a right to fun and “cutely” says she is calling a lawyer. Of course the solution is to hire a housekeeper so that mom and dad can finally take kid outside and entertain her..It just really annoys me that kids and parents today are being told that kids deserve to be entertained by mom or dad at all times and you are somehow not a good parent if you spend a Saturday cleaning instead of playing with your kid. I know it was a privilege if on a Saturday, after getting up on my own and quietly watching TV while eating dry cereal until mom got up sometime after 8 (meaning about 2 hours unsupervised while doing dangerous things like eating and bothering my brother GASP!) if we got to go outside, unsupervised, to play instead of having to help clean our house..I guess I’m continuing the pattern of neglect because I tucked my daughter into bed on Friday night with, “Goodnight, I love you, and don’t even think about waking me up until at least 8 am! If you wake up early play in your room or watch TV, cereal and fruit is on the counter!”The commercial actually reflects a growing reality: parents are spending more and more time tending to their kids. A 2010 article in the New York Times reported that:
…the amount of child care time spent by parents at all income levels — and especially those with a college education — has risen “dramatically” since the mid-1990s.…
Before 1995, mothers spent an average of about 12 hours a week attending to the needs of their children. By 2007, that number had risen to 21.2 hours a week for college-educated women and 15.9 hours for those with less education.
College-educated dads, too, are spending more than double the pre-1995 amount of 4.5 hours a week, an other men are up to 6.8 hours from 3.7, earlier.
Conclusion? Kids and parents are spending more time together, for any number of reasons. But when kids come to believe they can’t go outside and play without a parent watching — or participating — they are being cheated out of something fundamental:
Unsupervised play time. – L