If you’re like any other busy parent, you have a little something called “busy parent guilt.” Yes, this is a real thing because I suffer from it myself. “Busy parent guilt” simply mea ns that there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done.
Parents have to work to pay the bills, parents have to go to the grocery store to put food on the table, and parents have to somehow figure out how to squeeze in family bonding time so that their kids feel loved and appreciated.
Even worse, everyday distractions make it harder to connect when your family actually has precious time together. Distraction’s key culprit? Technology. How bad is it? One study performed by the Boston Medical Center went undercover to observe parents at 15 local restaurants to find out.
As researchers watched from a distance, they noted, “Parents in 40 of the 55 families observed were absorbed in their mobile devices, according to the study. Almost a third of the parents used their devices continuously throughout their meal.”
Researchers came to a hard-drawn conclusion: Parents need to put down their devices around their kids, and the same rule applies for children. Making a commitment to eliminate distractions as a family can provide the time you so desperately need to talk, catch up, or simply relax together.
And on top of that, we’re spending even less time together. According to recent research polling 2,000 parents, families spend less than eight hours a week together on average. This comes down to roughly 36 minutes a day of quality family time, with a little extra padding on the weekend— two hours and 20 minutes, to be exact.
Once the entire family is home from work and school under one roof, the chaos can get the best of you. As the survey authors wrote, “…even when families do get together, seven in ten parents say the time is spent in front of the TV because they are busy reading, playing computer games or simply too tired to talk.”
This may seem depressing at face value, but it helps to know that other parents are in the same boat. You aren’t the only parent trying to figure out how to set aside extra time to spend with your kids each day.
But what are you supposed to do with your kids without any entertainment or distraction? This may seem like a strange question to ask, but it is on every parent’s mind. Many parents are willing to give in to the iPad or video games simply because they don’t know what else to do to keep their kids happy and entertained.
For this very reason, Xbox markets their interactive Kinect device to children of all ages: “Whether you’re a gamer or not, anyone can play and have a blast… Kinect promises a gaming experience that’s safe, secure and fun for everyone.” Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft Corp., adds, “Years of research and a team of engineers and artists have created something approachable, simple and affordable that everyone can enjoy.”