Stuff co.nz 27 July 2018
Family First Comment: Once again, (as with the importance of family dinners and the effect of excessive screentime) the media are trying to keep up with us and are saying things we said only recently!
In this article….
“While good childcare has its place, long hours can be tiring and stressful for children. ‘What anyone should do is put themselves in the shoes of a child – if you feel as an adult that the amount of time is long for you, then it is definitely too long for a child.’
About 3 per cent of Kiwi kids are in both before and after school care every day, the latest report by Growing Up in New Zealand shows.
This number is on the rise. In 2009, 8.8 per cent of children were in some kind of formal out-of-school care. By 2017, that number had leapt to 15 per cent, according to Stats NZ.
Childcare providers have noticed the trend, too.
Danielle Reynolds-Howlett runs the Chillout programme in Papakura, which looks after 75 children each morning and up to 140 in the afternoon.
The number of parents looking for both before and after school care is “definitely on the increase” – and Auckland traffic has a big impact. With the journey into the city taking longer, more parents are finding they don’t have time to do the school run before work.
That’s the case for Ashleigh Visser, who commutes from Auckland’s North Shore to the city each day.
She drops off her two children at 7am, and her husband collects them at 5.30pm.
At almost 11 hours, it’s a long day – but she says her children have never once complained. “They love it.”
After they get home in the evening, it’s homework and then straight into dinner. On days when the children have had a big afternoon tea they might not be hungry, and having that extra family time is nice, Visser says.
Child Forum Chief Executive Sarah Alexander says while good childcare has its place, long hours can be tiring and stressful for children.
“What anyone should do is put themselves in the shoes of a child – if you feel as an adult that the amount of time is long for you, then it is definitely too long for a child.”
It’s not so much the time spent in childcare that’s the issue, but the time spent away from home.
Having only a small number of hours with family is a “stress” for children, as there’s little time for catching up and bonding. It also means parents don’t have time to develop their parenting skills.
Research from the past 10 years indicates children want to spend more time with their parents – but it also shows parents want the same thing, Alexander says.
“It’s a social issue and an employment issue.”
“We need to look at how we can better support families to enable them to have a bit more time in the day with their children.”
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/105813351/Kids-doing-11-hour-days-in-before-and-after-school-care?cid=app-iPhone