Quarter of parents 'too busy to play sport with children or take them to training sessions'


A quarter of parents are too busy with work to take their children to sports classes and training sessions, according to a new report.

Their long working hours are blamed for kids' failure to do enough exercise.

Almost three quarters of mums and dads, 73 per cent, say they understand the importance of sport to their children's development.

Experts say that parents should not rely on schools to provide their children with all the exercise they need

Experts say that parents should not rely on schools to provide their children with all the exercise they need

And 92 per cent hope their children will be more active when they return to school this year, the study by the British Toy and Hobby Association found.

Furthermore, 16 per cent cent even hope their children will one day become sporting heroes.

But 86 per cent admit they will not spend any of their own time teaching their children the likes of football, cricket and tennis.


Almost a third will instead rely on their child's PE lessons at school to give them their recommended hour of daily exercise.

Many parents claim there are 'barriers' preventing their children from being as active as they would like them to be.

A quarter say they do not have 'accessible facilities' in their area, a third need more outdoor spaces and a quarter believe clubs are too expensive.

A similar number, 24 per cent, say they are simply too busy with work to exercise with their kids or to take them to classes.

Many parents claim they are too busy with work to act as a taxi driver for their children

Many parents claim they are too busy with work to act as a taxi driver for their children

But almost a third say it is actually their children who are too busy with homework to take part in sport after school, the study of 1,000 parents found.

However, research for the association's Make Time to Play campaign found children are not necessarily more active during PE lessons.

Children were moderately or vigorously active for almost twice as long when given toys and cardboard boxes to play with than in the school PE lessons.

Almost half of parents, 46 per cent, say their children have been inspired by a busy summer of sport on TV.

And an ambitious 23 per cent of kids now say they want a career in sport, having watched the Olympics, Euro 2012 and Wimbledon.

Business consultant Jenny Harrison, from Southampton, Hants, said she struggles to find the time to take her sons to football training.

The 38-year-old said: 'My sons play football and have dreams of being the next Wayne Rooney.

'I do all I can to get them to training a couple of times a week but it is a struggle because I often find myself stuck in the office.'

Encouraging the next generation of athletes: Parents should take part in sport themselves or watch their children at training

Encouraging the next generation of athletes: Parents should try to take part in sport themselves or watch their children at training

Dr Amanda Gummer, a psychologist and play expert, said: 'The report shows there is an increased interest from children to be involved in sport.

'However, parents' involvement and encouragement is key to keeping them interested and taking their inspiration to the next level.

'One of the best ways to achieve this is for parents to lead by example.

'That means being active, enthusiastic and offering support - whether through watching or taking part.

'Play and sport can both be great ways to keep kids active and meet the government's recommended daily activity levels.'

Dr Rebecca Duncombe, from the Institute of Youth Sport at Loughborough University, said relying solely on school PE lessons was not sufficient.

Making a splash: Swimming is considered to be a good form of exercise for children

Making a splash: Swimming is considered to be a good form of exercise for children

She said: 'PE lessons should not be relied upon to provide young people with their recommended hour of physical activity each day.

'At present, schools are encouraged to provide two hours per week of high quality physical education.

'But this includes time for demonstration, instruction and feedback so young people are not active for the whole of their lesson.

'It is important to provide children with other opportunities to be active.

'Parents should consider and explore ways in which this can be done within the confines of family life.

'This may include encouraging them to engage in active play, accompanying their children on bike rides, taking them to the park and walking them to school.'


The comments below have been moderated in advance.

And having re-read the headline shouldn't it read ''75% of parents are involved with their children's sporting activity'' or does that sound too positive?

Click to rate     Rating   14

Maybe it would be better if parents DON'T totally supervise their children' leisure activities. Despite the horror stories most kids would, if allowed, cycle to the park and play football all day if they had the opportunity. But as - daz , Cheshire, 08/9/2012 09:54 - says, it's a different world now.

Click to rate     Rating   4

They'd rather they were in their rooms surfing the internet for porn rather than take responsibility for them!

Click to rate     Rating   3

- LesJo you say about problems at your local skatepark and the police being blamed and you want to know why local parents can not 'chaperone' them, its simple really what could the parents do? You have kids causing trouble and you can call the police as heaven help you if you did anything as the police would be on your doorstep like a flash.

Click to rate     Rating   5

I'd like to see more after-school sports activities take place at my son's school. I would gladly pay for it (instead of childcare), but I don't have time to ferry him around after school as I have to work most days.

Click to rate     Rating   1

Cameron should be happy, they call it increased productivity . Only snag is he wants people to be good family parents, sorry high taxation means more money to be found even if its just to pay for food.

Click to rate     Rating   3

I pay £70 for the five month cricket season which is two matches (lasting over four hours each) and one training session a week, rugby is more expensive due to insurance premiums but still he gets over five hours of sport per week for 7 months.. This means that my son is not stuck in his room on his playstation, hanging out in town being a nuisance or under my feet being bored, but out in the fresh air having a fantastic time with all his mates. Definitely worth the money. Most Clubs will allow parents to pay in instalments if they find it too dear, or make other arrangements for people on benefits.

Click to rate     Rating   10

Sport should be available via the school. I have moved my children to a private school, and the main benefits for the children are (1) sport every day and (2) lots of men teachers. My boys are thriving.

Click to rate     Rating   6

Saturday mornings in most New Zealand towns find dozens of parents on the side lines of sports fields supporting their kids in whatever sport they play and whatever the weather. It seems here the majority are still enjoying time outside and not in the Malls.

Click to rate     Rating   9

If anyone thinks 5 pounds a session is a lot, here we put both our boys in hockey $700 each, plus equipment, travel expenses, hotel bills when playing away easily another $1000, and we went to all their games. High School Football $400, Lacrosse $250. We managed it and so do lots of parents here. We just made sacrifices. We didn't go out to the movies or for meals for 10+ yrs so they could play the sports. Yes we both worked full time as well.

Click to rate     Rating   10

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