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Children suffer when mum goes to work, study shows

Working mothers spend just three minutes a day alone with their sons helping them with homework, say researchers.

The figure is less than a quarter of the time devoted to children's homework by mothers who work part-time or who stay at home.

Their absence prompts children to spend more time watching television, according to the research.

Fathers, who manage only three minutes on average each day, increase by a minute a day the amount of time they help with homework when their partner works full-time.

But that is insufficient to compensate for the loss of attention caused by working mothers.

Daughters fare slightly better than sons in households where both parents work, getting seven minutes of concentrated attention from their mothers.

But that still falls far short of the average of 14 minutes that each child gets in a traditional one-income household.

Dr Killian Mullan, of the University of New South Wales, and one of the authors of the study, said: "Children have less one-to-one engagement with a parent on attainment-related activities when their mother works because the father is just not making up the time lost."

Children of full-time working mothers, he found, will spend an extra 27 minutes a day watching television compared with those from a household where just the father works.