34 minutes: The amount of time the average family gets to spend together each day

34 minutes the amount of time the average family gets to spend together each day | Article
  • New research reveals one in four parents feel too busy to spend enough time with their kids
  • Long working hours, lengthy commutes and exhaustion are partly to blame
  • When families do spend time together it’s often filled with non-active events like the cinema, television nights or computer games
  • But the appetite for change is there as 86% of families say they are always on the lookout for activities they can do together
  • New Highland Spring campaign, fronted by Judy Murray and backed by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), calls on 10,000 families to get active together this summer

One in four parents admit they're too busy to spend time with their kids due to the all-too familiar pressures of modern day life, new research reveals.

A study into the daily life and routines of 2,000 British families, showed long working hours, lengthy commutes and getting in from work exhausted has led to more than a quarter of mums and dads constantly feeling they don't get enough time to spend with their children.

While eight in ten tired parents feel they don’t spend enough time with the children overall, for one in four mums and dads it is a daily challenge.

In fact, the average family gets just 34 minutes a day together ‘undistracted’ – time where they feel they actually bond together and catch up without gadgets or routines getting in the way.

That amount does rise at the weekends but still remains small – just one hour 37 minutes was the average amount of quality time that families get together properly, with just over three hours in a whole weekend.

The study, commissioned by Highland Spring, looked to understand the pressures that parents of today face. It showed that with energy levels low and time at a premium, more than 60% of parents said that, when they do get to do a family activity together, it’s normally something ‘non-active’ like a cinema trip, film at home or time playing on games.

Six in ten said they struggle to get the family together as a whole with just four meals a week eaten together as a family – often with the kids eager to get down from the table and back to their gadgets.

Highland Spring conducted the research to mark the launch of its 'Everyone for Tennis' campaign, fronted by Judy Murray and backed by the LTA. The campaign calls on 10,000 families to get active together this summer.

Yesterday Andrea McQuaid, Head of Brand Marketing at Highland Spring, said: “This research shows that we are now busier than ever with long commutes and hectic individual routines. We know, we’ve been there.

“A third of parents told us that despite good intentions, they are simply too tired to be as active with their children as they’d like to be. But the appetite for change is there and now is the perfect time to act.

86 per cent of families say they are always on the lookout for activities they can do together as a whole family and four in ten try to play sports or outdoor games together as a group.”

And, while the most common way to spend family time proved to be watching a film or television together, fourth on the list was outdoor activities, while making a conscious effort to put down the gadgets also made the top ten.

“That’s what our new ‘Everyone For Tennis’ campaign is about,” continues McQuaid. “We want to support and inspire 10,000 families to get active, adopt better hydration habits and have fun together.”

Results exposed working hours and keeping up with chores as the biggest blocks to family time, while the children preferring to watch TV was the third most common barrier.

More than 60% of parents said that when they do get together, it’s normally spent in silence in front of the TV, at the cinema, playing computer games or glued to a mobile or tablet.

A fifth of parents regularly struggle to get their children out of their bedrooms or away from gadgets like consoles and phones, while more than three quarters of those studied were familiar with the problem.

Judy Murray, who is fronting the Highland Spring campaign, said yesterday: “The research shows there is a need to break out of existing routines and into more active lifestyles. Despite the struggle of the daily grind, families everywhere have strong appetites for outdoor games.

“Tennis can be played almost anywhere with a little bit of creativity and imagination. Our first ‘court’ was our driveway at home, with two chairs and a piece of rope for the net, and the boys’ first ‘match’ was hitting balloons to each other across the sofa.

“It’s a great way to develop your child’s physical and coordination skills. Always start simple and achievable. Success brings confidence, but be ready to increase the challenge when something is too easy. Be encouraging and demonstrate how to do things. Kids learn best by copying.

“With free Mini Tennis sessions taking place across the country throughout April as part of Highland Spring Mini Tennis Month and a summer of tennis just around the corner, it’s the perfect opportunity to get active and into tennis.”


  1. Watching a film
  2. Having a meal
  3. Watching TV
  4. Taking part in outdoor activities or sport
  5. Playing a board game
  6. Cooking or baking
  7. Playing video games
  8. Putting all our gadgets to one side
  9. Sitting down to discuss our week
  10. Making plans for the coming week / month