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How Much Time Do You Spend With Your Kids?

As Mother's Day approaches, I'm particularly grateful for the health of my two children and the joy they bring Marc and me – and increasingly, thankfully, each other! I’m also reflecting on how lucky I am to have time to spend with my two children, Charlotte and Aidan – and how I always wish there were more time, even after a full day spent together.

The Clinton Foundation’s early childhood work focuses on giving moms, dads, and caregivers the tools to help the children in their lives have the healthiest, strongest futures possible. This survey between Romper and Too Small to Fail looks at how new moms in the Romper community spend time with their kids, the challenges they face, and what they want for their children’s futures.

Data shows that new moms are juggling a lot, but that we all want to make sure our kids are set up for success in school and in life at every stage. We know that making even 15 minutes of talking, reading, and singing a part of everyday routines with infants and toddlers can have a meaningful positive effect on their brain development and on the bonds between caregivers and children.

We hope you’ll find the results as interesting as we did, and keep reading for some helpful tips and tricks from our team at Too Small to Fail on how small moments can have a big impact.

-Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation

Time: It’s what everyone, but especially every woman with kids, wishes she had more of. You want more for different reasons. You’d like more time at the job you have to leave by exactly 4:39 each day to get to daycare pickup in time. You’d like time to finally tackle the household project you physically cannot take on when you spend the whole day with a baby and a toddler. You’d like to have a moment to yourself — to get a haircut, to watch a single, beautiful uninterrupted episode of TV, to go to the bathroom alone. And you want more time with your kids because, especially for parents of small children, you’re aware of three things: 1) they develop more intellectually and emotionally in this stage of their lives than any other; 2) as Chelsea mentioned, the quality time you spend with your kids has a huge impact on that development; and 3) these first years with them are precious, and they pass so quickly.

Romper and Too Small to Fail designed our Mother’s Day survey to find out how millennial women with small children kids are thinking about time. How much time to they think they spend with their kids in comparison to their partners or co-parents and to other moms? What are the biggest barriers to making that time? Do they realize the developmental impact of the time they spend? And what’s their long-term goal for the time they’re investing?

The results are pretty interesting. We knew that millennial parents spend more time with their children than any generation in recent history, but the survey indicated that some of them are spending far more than the average. Seventy-five percent of our 583 respondents reported spending six or more hours per day with their children. And for most of those vast swaths of time, they’re flying solo. Sixty percent said they spend way more time than their partner or co-parent, almost 50 percent said they spend more time than other parents, and few get regular help from family and friends.

They make the time in a lot of ways. Perhaps unsurprisingly in an era when everyone carries the internet in her pocket, they are master multitaskers. (Forty percent said they put down their phones “never” or “almost never.’) Almost 40 percent said school and work are the biggest barriers to spending time with their children, highlighting the fact that so many young women with kids are pursuing their own goals even as they work to provide a foundation for their children’s futures. (Check out Romper's interview with Chelsea Clinton about motherhood, and time.)

Undoubtedly, many of our respondents spend as many hours as they do with their children because there is no one else to watch their kids. (With 56 percent reporting an annual household income under $50,000, this is not a cohort that easily affords child care.) But they are so invested in making that time quality time, with over 50 percent saying they often or very often look for new fun, meaningful activities for their kids, that it’s clear they are approaching their hours intentionally. So what outcome, in their minds, will result from all of this time? Who do they hope all of the hours will help their young children become? Some of our respondents still told us that performance in school is the most important measure of success, but many more said it wasn’t. What they listed instead tells us a lot about their values not just as parents but as a generation.

Kaitlyn O'Connor/Romper

More from Too Small to Fail:

How To Create Your Own Lullaby

How Music Affects Your Baby's Brain

How To Turn Laundry Time Into Quality Time

Easy Ways To Boost Your Child's Social And Emotional Development