Parents’ and children’s “together time”

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a conference


Spending time with children is an important aspect of modern-day parenting. Shared time is a convenient way to teach children the appropriate values and attitudes, it promotes the child’s intellectual and psychological development and it stimulates cohesion among the family members. The monetary and time investments that parents make in the childrearing process are closely linked to their social background. Both national and international studies suggest that children from working-class parents are less often participating in organized leisure activities (Bennett et al., 2012; Smits & Spruyt, 2014) and have longer stretches of unsupervised time than children from middle-class families (Lareau, 2000, 2003; Smits & Spruyt, 2013). We use time-use data from the Belgian TUS data of 1999, 2005 and 2013 to gain a better understanding of the way shared time in the family is shaped. Based on the framework of Minnen et al. (2012) we combine temporal and spatial dimensions of time allocation to differentiate between the time and activities children do together with their parents (‘synchronic time’) and the time and activities parents and children do separate (‘individual time’). Does the nature of family time vary by social background? Is the leisure time of children more in sync with that of their parents in middle-class families than in working-class families? What do children from working-class families do in their individual time? Which types of shared activities can be typically found in working- and middle-class families? Furthermore, are there differences in the time that children, from different social backgrounds, spend with their mother or with their father?
Period29 Oct 2021
Event typeConference