Parents’ hectic work schedules and financial concerns are creating a generation of neglected children, according to recent surveys.
The studies have revealed that parents are devoting, on average, less than an hour each day to their children.
One survey, conducted by car insurance provider Admiral, revealed that working parents devote just 36 minutes a day to their kids, and 62 per cent of the parents also admitted to regularly fobbing off their children by saying “maybe later”.
The survey, which covered 3,000 working parents and their children, found that 92 per cent of parents consider their children to be their “absolute highest priority in life”.
It also revealed that 68 per cent of children would like their parents to have more time to play with them.
A spokesman for Admiral cautioned: “The generation of ‘Maybe Later’ kids shows a worrying trend of parents not spending as much time as they should with their children.
“Parents admit their children aren’t getting enough of their attention, and children are also feeling the impact of this, desperate for their parents to spend more time with them.
“We live in ever busier times with many parents taking work home with them once they leave the office, but it seems this is having a negative effect on the relationship they have with their children.”
Another study, reported this week, showed that almost one in ten families spend less than two hours together each week.
Nearly 70 per cent of the parents surveyed “see money as the biggest barrier to spending more time with their family.”
The researchers cautioned: “This is rubbing off on their kids with more than a quarter of eight-to 15-year-olds stating money as the most important thing to them, putting cash in front of their health, education, sport or music”.
Earlier this month a leading headmaster warned that family time is being squeezed by a ‘must-have’ culture which lavishes kids with the latest gizmos.
Graham Gorton, chairman of the Independent Schools Association, also expressed concern that children spend too much time at after-school clubs rather than with their families.
Mr Gorton said: “Many see that they may be perceived to be failing as parents if they do not ensure that their children have the latest gadgets and electronic devices along with their peers.”
“Many parents also, I suspect, feel pressured to enrol their offspring into every conceivable club or after school activity that is available, including through the weekends”, he added.
But Mr Gorton believes that families should treasure and nurture family time.