The UK’s families are a nation of home nesters as new research reveals that 60 per cent
of parents prefer to spend quality time with their children at home rather than going out together. The Family Time
report*, commissioned by child mobility experts, Britax
, explores family lifestyles and adventures in the UK and shows that families are spending 33 per cent
less time outdoors than they did in their own childhoods.
Whilst 65 per cent of the 2,000 parents surveyed agree that family time outside is fun, almost one in five (18%) families labelled it as ‘stressful’ with a further 41 per cent worrying about their children’s safety when they are outdoors.
With the dark evenings and winter gales now in full swing, the unpredictable British weather is a key factor for families staying at home for over 50 per cent of parents (54%). Other challenges to family outdoor freedom include:
· High costs: 63 per cent say the cost of family days out limit quality time together out of the home
· Time: 35 per cent say the time it takes to prepare and leave the house with children is a deterrent
· Equipment: Almost a quarter (25%) cite the amount of equipment needed (pushchairs, changing bags, bottles etc) as a de-motivator to heading outside
· Housework: Balancing household chores and family life is a major factor for 27 per cent of parents
· Tantrums: 22 per cent say the fear of their children throwing tantrums in public tends to keep them inside for family time
Despite the deterrents, 61 per cent of parents still recognise that getting out with their children is important in terms of building memories with their family, with activities like family holidays (47%), days out with the family (15%) and playing outdoors with friends (25%) topping the list of the best memories from their own childhoods.
Family life specialist Dr Pat Spungin comments: “Whilst spending quality time at home together is still incredibly valuable for any family, powerful life long memories can be made by discovering new things together outdoors.
“But it’s not always easy. This research shows how families feel the odds are really against them when it comes to getting outdoors, but there are some really simple steps that parents can take to make the process much simpler and more stress free. Whilst excursions and theme parks can be expensive, don’t underestimate the value of simply taking a walk out in the park with the children. You’ll all get some fresh air and will have lots of fun in the process.”
More children, more challenges…
The Family Time report shows a direct correlation in the number of children in a family and the amount of time spent together outside. Whilst 40 per cent of families with one child say they try to go out to the park together each weekend, this decreases to 33 per cent for families with three children. Over half (56%) of parents with three children said they rarely try something new at the weekends and prefer to stay at home.
The probability of watching TV together as a family also increases with the number of children in the family. Only one out of five (20%) families with one child watch TV all together at the weekends versus 30 per cent for a two child family and 38 per cent for three children – almost double the amount of one child families.
The report found that families in East Anglia dedicate the most amount of time outdoors together, followed by Wales and the North West. Northern Ireland was revealed as the region that spends the least amount of time outdoors as a family.**
“We believe that becoming a parent is really about becoming yourself and that every family has the right to live their life to the full” comments Amy Voller, Brand Director EMEA from Britax. “We understand how challenging this can be for modern families however so are committed to making travelling and exploring with children as easy, safe and as stress free as possible. That’s why we will always go far beyond what’s required and won’t stop until we’ve achieved the safest travel solutions for outdoor family adventures.”
*Britax used market research company Atomik Research who surveyed 2,000 British parents with children aged 0 – 12 years from a nationally representative sample, in October 2014.
**LEAGUE TABLE: Most time spent together outside of the house as a family – Regional Breakdown
1. East Anglia
3. North West
4. East Midlands
5. South West
7. South East
8. North East
9. West Midlands
12. Northern Ireland