BBC Presenter follows US 'good parent' guide
Published 01/03/2011 | 12:52
Sophie Raworth, the BBC newsreader, is following a US parenting scheme which requires parents to give a child 15 minutes of undivided attention per day
Families and Hearts Together (FAST) is an eight-week programme which claims to turn children away from bad behaviour and poor school results. It teaches time-starved parents how to spend quality time with their offspring.
Raworth investigated the FAST programme for a new BBC Two documentary, Parents Under Pressure, and is now following its guidelines to bring up her children Ella, six, Georgia, five, and three-year-old Oliver.
Every day for eight weeks, parents must set aside 15 minutes in which the child chooses an activity and the parent follows it with no criticism or issuing of instructions. Crucially, parents must put aside all distractions, from keeping an eye on the television to checking emails.
Raworth said: "It's harder than it looks. I've now moved my computer out of my kitchen so I'm not tempted to go on it, and I switch my phone to silent when I'm playing with them. But it's very easy to lose concentration, leap up and make a cup of tea. I think we've all forgotten how to sit still."
A married working mother, Raworth admitted to feeling guilty every time she leaves the house. But she told the Radio Times that her working hours at the BBC are family-friendly. "Presenting BBC News at One means that I can pick up my kids from school most days. I was presenting the 6pm bulletin when I had my first child, but then Anna Ford announced she was retiring and I was asked to replace her. Anna told me it was a great job for someone with young children, and she's right."
Other activities over the eight week period include eating family meals together and learning the art of family play.
In Parents Under Pressure, Raworth also meets Penelope Leach, author of several books on parenting. Leach said: "The conflict between home and work is like the elephant in the room of our society. Now that women are on an equal footing in the workplace, men should be on an equal footing at home. We have to stop assuming that childcare is women's business. Only then will we change the culture of the workplace and make it more family friendly."