By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Over the past half-century, how parents spend their time has changed dramatically. Mothers are working more outside of the home and fathers are doing more housework. The gap is still signification, but both parents are now spending more time with their children.

“We have intensive parenting than we did 40 years ago,” said Bill Doherty, a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota. “The culture changed. We’re a more psychologically minded culture.”

According to the Pew Research Center, mothers spent ten hours on child care a week in 1965. Fathers spent two-and-a-half hours.

Fast forward to 2011 where fathers spent seven hours a week with their children. Mothers were at 14 hours.

“The big thing is interacting with them compared to just being around,” Doherty said.

More than half of parents say they find it hard to balance their work and family responsibilities. Almost half of fathers and a quarter of mothers say they spend too little time with their kids.

Doherty says there’s no rule on the perfect number of hours, but the key for parents is being intentional with your time. Both quantity and quality of time are important, but quality is key.

“It’s really how they’re doing, are they thriving, are they thinking they are connected to you and are you connected to them,” he said. “Do they love being around you, are they meeting their developmental milestones, that’s what you have to look at.”


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