The Time Paradox in Parenting

Updated: Feb 12

The average parent spends approximately 2-3 hours of quality time a day with their children. That’s roughly 8-10% of a 24-hour period.


Parents have to invest in nurturing their child’s emotional and mental development, moulding the child's inner sense of morality, and cultivating their social intelligence. Parents are tasked with helping their children develop into high-functioning, contributing citizens of society - with just 2-3 hours a day. That’s a tall order.

The time presently spent with children is a significant improvement from 50 years ago according to an article by The Economist. Apparently the generation prior spent even less time with their children. Which leads us to the following question:


If you had the ability to create your own schedule, to meet your needs and the needs of your family, how much time would you allocate to raising your children?


Taking into account that no two children are the same, their needs and demands are different. Some require more time and attention than others.


The idea that there is a “normal” amount of time that a child should expect of you is a distorted social construct. Stage theorists have capitalized on the idea that children who exist as outliers from the average are abnormal - not the case (more to add in an upcoming blog). Children will demonstrate how much of your time they need and you either adapt and see them flourish, or your child adapts and starts to struggle. Children are not pre-programmed to accommodate the reality of your circumstances. There’s generally a developmental cost when a child’s emotional, social and intellectual needs are not met.

That said, everyone is doing the best they can. Bills need to get paid, we need to put food on the table, not to mention the extra-curricular activities, and of course, socializing.


More than any of those things, a truth we as a society continue to diminish, what children need most is quality time with their parents. Children need you present. Parents are often treated as glorified guardians, people without the wherewithal to properly attend to their children. This could not be further from the truth.


I realized the impact of parent involvement while researching my proof-of-concept. When I started involving the parents, and they started incorporating the activities at home, the behavioural shifts were significant. So even if 2-3 hours isn’t much, that time has more significance to your child’s development when spent with you opposed to a hired professional.


This is why Project Purpose offers parent-child workshops, leveraging parental influence to successfully instil resilience and perseverance within your children. Our role is to simply guide and support parents, not only by providing community, but also with the tools and exercises to help focus on their child's intellectual and character development.