‘Bedtime stories lessen’ as mums earn more

UK Telegraph 26 September 2007
High-earning mothers are less likely to read to their children as work takes priority over family time, a recent study shows. Just two thirds of women with salaries of more than ?30,000 read to their sons or daughters compared with 84 per cent of those making less than ?10,000. Experts said that children were increasingly missing out as working mothers are forced to juggle full-time jobs while retaining responsibility for the home. Children are more likely to be placed in full-time child care or allowed to watch television and play computer games, despite fears that a lack of one-to-one attention harms development, they said. Some spend twice as much time watching television or playing outside as they do immersed in a book, says research by Pearson, the publisher, and the Booktrust, a reading charity.A survey of more than 1,800 parents found that the average five- to 11-year-old spends seven hours and 46 minutes in front of the television every week and just over six hours playing computer games. They spend more than 14 hours playing outside or indoors with toys, but just three hours and 51 minutes reading. The report found that income also had a direct effect on the amount of time parents spend reading with children.