Nursery Today magazine

Highs and lows of parenting

Survey from toy company Little Tikes reveals the highs and lows of parenting

The nation’s parents say that the first year of being a new family is about 50 per cent giggles and 50 per cent graft*, taking them an average of 14 months to get the hang of it!  The research, commissioned by leading toy company Little Tikes, quizzed 1,500 UK parents on their first year of parenting, with some surprising results.

35 per cent of UK parents were not prepared for how hard having a new baby would be, with almost half (49 per cent) feeling shocked as they adjusted to their new lifestyle.

According to the report, the hardest part of being a mum or dad is cited as the constant tidying up (25 per cent), closely followed by bed-time issues – including the sleepless nights (22 per cent) and the battle to get your little one to sleep (14 per cent).  This leaves them with just 2.9 hours of time to themselves on a weekday evening and might explain why 32 per cent say they enjoy being a parent ‘some of the time’!

On the flip-side, parents found the simple things most rewarding – with 38 per cent saying that seeing their little one laugh was the most fulfilling feeling – rating that happiness as 8.5 out of 10.  After that, it was watching as they learn something new (14 percent), followed closely by sharing snuggles and cuddles (13 per cent).  And when it comes to baby’s all important development, the most heralded milestone is sleeping through the night (32 per cent), followed by walking (26 per cent) and talking (15 per cent).  Not only that, but the parents said they spent a whopping 2,263 hours holding their baby in the first year… that’s 6.5 hours per day!  Even so, they still managed to have time for 4.4 hours a day of fun.

Surprisingly it’s the start of the week which parents find hard – with almost half (47 per cent) saying Mondays are the most tiring day of the week, whilst a daily slump comes at 7pm when the average parent says complete exhaustion sets in!

When it comes to beyond the home, the survey revealed that 66 per cent of parents regularly get annoyed with others on social media who portray a perfect family –35 per cent say it’s ‘pretty annoying’ and 31 per cent citing it as ‘really annoying’.  Adding to that, almost three quarters (73 per cent) said that during the first year with baby they feel pressure from friends and family to be a ‘perfect’ parent.

Little Tikes’ Play Expert and Child Psychologist Emma Kenny comments: “Clearly being a new parent is an exciting time in anyone’s life and it’s fascinating to see the high and lows of parenting our research reveals. It’s wonderful to see that despite all the sleepless nights and tidying up, many find magic in the little moments – cherishing the milestones as baby develops.”

* 48 per cent hard work, 52 per cent fun

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