Parents choose catching up on sleep over spending time with their children

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Just one in four UK parents are planning to spend the extra hour they gain when the clocks go back this weekend with their children, finds new research.

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Action for Children is urging parents to spend the extra hour they gain from when the clocks change on Sunday with their children

The charity Action for Children surveyed 2,000 parents of four- to- 16-year-olds with at least one child living at home at least half the time.

Just under a quarter (23 per cent) of respondents said they plan to spend the extra hour they gain when the clocks go back on Sunday (29 October) with their children, while 30 per cent are likely to use the extra time to catch up on sleep.

A breakdown of the figures by region show that parents in London and Yorkshire & the Humber are most likely to spend the extra hour with their children, and parents in Northern Ireland and the East Midlands are least likely.

This Sunday, Action for Children is inviting parents to take part in its National Children’s Hour campaign, which encourages families to ‘unplug and play’. The campaign was launched in 2014 to coincide with the start of daylight saving time every year.

The charity is also calling on members of the public to use their #HourForGood and pledge to do something to raise money for disadvantaged children. Those who don’t have time to fundraise can alternatively donate an hour’s worth of their salary.

Additional findings from the Action for Children survey of parents also reveal that, on average, UK families spend less than an hour (52 minutes) of ‘quality, focused’ time together each day because of parents’ long working hours and challenging shift patterns, and children being distracted by digital technology.

Carol Iddon, managing director of children’s services at Action for Children, said, ‘Being a parent is tougher than ever before. People must juggle the fast pace of modern life, tricky shift patterns and all while trying to pay the bills, not to mention challenges managing screen time, completing homework and attending after-school activities.

‘National Children’s Hour is a back-to-basics celebration of everything that is great about childhood. All that's required is to ask children what they want to do with their hour and try to make it happen – within reason of course.

‘Use the extra hour to bring a book to life, have fun with science by making magic milk that looks like a potion, or your own playdough. You could build a spaceship out of junk, look through old family photographs, whatever, just have fun together and see the response you get.’

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