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How Long Parents Spend Caring For Their Children Each Day

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Women are still mainly responsible for childcare in the home, but men are also making a big contribution according to new research.

Data from the 2009/2010 Time Use Survey has been analysed by Statistics New Zealand to give a picture of how long parents spend caring for their children each day.

The data shows that the average parent with children under-14 spends just over eight hours each day caring for their children.

Mothers with children under-5 were found to spend around 12 hours each day caring for their child while some recorded up to 16 hours a day. This dropped when children reached school age.

While mothers still do most of the caring, the statistics showed that at weekends in two-parent households, fathers stepped up to help. On weekdays when many men would be in paid employment fathers spent a little over five hours caring for children on average, but at weekends this rose to around eight hours. Some of this was through shared care during which both parents would be present.

In families where both parents worked full time the care was quite evenly split between both parents.

The research showed the biggest influences on how much time parents spent caring for their children were the level of paid employment, the day of the week, the number of children in the family and the age of the youngest child.

As the purpose of the survey was simply to record time use, it did not ask if parents were happy with the amount of time they spent caring for their children.

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