Wednesday 17 January 2018

Stressed and weary mums and dads spoiling the fun of reading

Picture posed: Thinkstock
Picture posed: Thinkstock

Alison Kershaw

PARENTS are spending more time reading with their children, but stress and tiredness can prevent it from being fun, research suggests.

Almost two-thirds (60pc) of parents of four to six-year-olds say they read with their child for pleasure on a daily basis, according to a survey by the Booktime programme.

But while more parents are reading with their youngsters, time constraints and stress are stopping them from spending more time on the activity.

Just a third (33pc) of those questioned said they are happy with the amount of time they spend reading for pleasure with their child.

More than a third (36pc) said they are too tired to spend longer reading, with 31pc too busy cooking dinner, 24pc occupied with housework and 16pc too busy organising school bags and lunches.

The study also reveals the problems that stop reading from being an enjoyable activity.

Two fifths (41pc) said that a child's tiredness stops reading together being fun, while 30pc cited their own tiredness as a reason.

Nearly one in five (18pc) said their own stress levels stops reading being fun, while 6pc said their child being stressed prevents it from being enjoyable.

Parents are spending longer reading with their son or daughter - the average time is now an hour and 26 minutes per week.

This equates to three days and two-and-a-half hours each year - or 12.5 minutes each day.

During that time they get through an average of 46 books per child, although one in 20 parents say they read fewer than five books with their child in a year.

In 2009, parents spent an hour and 18 minutes a week on average sharing a book with their child.

But parents also spend less time reading with their child the older they get. While 63pc of those with four-year-olds said they read for pleasure with them daily, this dropped to 48pc of those with six-year-old children.

For 71pc of parents, reading with their child is a highlight of the day, but the survey also found that two thirds (64pc) have tried to dodge out of reading at some stage.

A separate survey of 200 primary teachers reveals that many are concerned about a lack of reading at home.

Some 98pc of teachers questioned said they are either very or quite concerned that reading for pleasure does not take place often enough in some homes.

At the same time, the benefits of home reading are easy for teachers to see.

Almost three quarters (72pc) said children who are read with at home are more advanced readers, and the same proportion said these children have more developed language skills.

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