NEW YORK — Considering a recent survey that showed American adults spend up to three hours a day on social media, you may be disheartened to learn that the average family spends just a fraction of that time together each day. A new survey calculated that Americans are enjoying just 37 minutes of “quality time” as a family on weekdays.
The study, commissioned by Visit Anaheim, the tourism organization for the Southern California city, tried to quantify the cost of increasingly jam-packed schedules for American families. After polling 2,000 parents of school-aged children, researchers found that 60% of those polled described their average, daily lives as “hectic.” A quarter of respondents admitted that lack of family time is a “problem.”
On weekdays, with parents working and kids at school or in other activities, the time they spend all together doing a common activity is significantly low. While the average family is not even spending 40 minutes together on Monday through Friday, the survey showed that quality time did increase to about 2 hours and 40 minutes on weekend days.
When asked which factors in their lives were to blame for this lack of family time, two-thirds of the parents surveyed identified their long work hours as the main culprit. Participants also cited weekend chores and their kids’ complex school and activities schedules.
Meanwhile, quality time wasn’t just an issue for families. Spouses also struggle to enjoy time with one another throughout the year. More than half of the parents (54%) said they get at most 12 date nights to themselves a year, while 31% sometimes go more than a month without a night out.
To make matters worse, one’s definition of “date night” might differ from someone else’s. That’s because 65% of the respondents said even during dates, they’re likely running errands or doing domestic chores. of parents surveyed said they’re actively looking for whole-family activities.
Of course, there may be no better way to reconnect with the family while unplugging from the daily schedule by going on vacation. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they spend more time their children when they go away — a much needed dose of quality time.
“As a family-friendly destination, we know the positive benefits a vacation can have on a family,” says Jay Burress, president and CEO of Visit Anaheim, in a press release. “A vacation offers a refreshing opportunity for families to leave their hectic routines at home and focus on bonding with each other, building memories that last a lifetime.”
Still, plenty of people look for things for their kids to do when they’re away besides hang out with the family. Two-thirds of parents say they choose a vacation destination where they knew there’d be entertainment for the little ones.
As for how much vacation time the typical family gets? The survey found parents spent seven days a year on average on vacation with their children. It may sound low to some, but for parents who say they live hectic lives, it’s most certainly better than nothing.