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Time is the most valuable commodity

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Time is the greatest commodity for today’s parents, according to a new study which found most parents are happy, yet stressed and overwhelmed as they struggle to find more time to themselves and time to be with their children.

More than 60 per cent of parents in the First Five Years Snapshop of Australian Families survey, believe more quality time for themselves would positively influence how happy they feel in their role as a parent.

Other things that would influence their happiness included more quality time with their child (53%), better financial resources (45%) and more sleep (43%).

New parenting website First Five Years conducted a survey of more than 1000 Australian families.

More than 1000 families from across Australia responded to the survey. Of these, almost 80 per cent were nuclear families with blended families, grandparent families, single parent families and same sex families also represented.

First Five Years managing editor Belinda Reilly said the survey results paint an interesting picture of what’s happening in Australian homes.

“By sharing what happens behind closed doors we can gain a better understanding of the genuine issues facing families and the questions that we need to answer as a community to help families flourish,” she said.

When asked to reflect on family life and describe how they felt, more than half of respondents said they felt happy, 35 per cent said they were stressed and 34 per cent were overwhelmed.

Time was one of the greatest themes of the survey responses, according to Ms Reilly.

“Most of the survey respondents said they rarely took time out to relax and clear their minds in order to be better parents, and 32 per cent were dissatisfied with the amount of time they had to set aside to spend time with their children,” she said.

Family time was also lacking, with 53 per cent of parents saying they spent less time with their children than their parents spent with them. Almost 33 per cent of parents say they often set aside one-on-one time to read with their children for at least 20 minutes.

Brisbane mother-of-two Kirsty Claassen said quality time with her two daughters Daisy, four, and Annie, five months, was a priority for her and her husband.

“We make a conscious effort to invest in the girls and ensure their needs are met but I am also starting to feel the need for time to myself so it’s definitely a juggling act with all the other distractions and demands family life brings,” Mrs Claassen said.

“Reading is something we definitely make time to do as well as playing with them at their level. While we’re busy, it’s all about making the most of these years.”


73% of parents would rarely or never intervene if they saw someone else’s child misbehaving in public and their parent was unaware.

40% of parents say they rarely or never give in to their child’s demands to avoid a fight or to keep them happy. Meanwhile 12% say they often or always give in.

54.5% of parents believe their children face a tougher future than the one they have grown up in. Only 3.5% thought their children would have fewer problems, and 42% thought the level of challenges would remain the same, they would just be different.

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