New research commissioned by BookPeople.co.uk for its annual Bedtime Story Competition has revealed that 20% of UK parents spend no time at all reading with their primary school aged children.
The survey also revealed that 54% of parents of children aged 5-11 spend less than one hour a week reading to their kids, with experts recommending that children spend at least 20 minutes per day reading to develop their literacy skills.
The survey examined parents’ thoughts on their primary school age children’s reading and technology habits, and their friendships. The results also revealed that one third of parents don’t believe that their children read enough books, despite almost two thirds of parents saying they set a good example with their reading habits.
Just 10% of respondents said they use books as a method of drawing their child’s attention away from something, such as when they are disruptive, bored or upset. More than a quarter of parents said they give their children a smartphone or tablet in such a situation, while 28% would put a film or TV programme on. In addition, two thirds (67%) stated their children aged between five and 11 have or share their own tablet, while 33% have or share their own smartphone.
Book People’s Bedtime Story Competition Head Judge, Claudia Winkleman commented: “I always try and get my kids off a screen and I love them reading books. I said to them quite recently ‘Guys you know what, even if you’re just pretending, if I could walk in to the kitchen and maybe you’re all just lounging around and you’re all just sitting there reading a book, I would give you whatever you wanted.'”
When parents were asked if they were concerned about their primary school age children not having friends, 57% said they were not. However, an analysis of the 1,300 entries to Book People’s Bedtime Story Competition last year reflected children’s concerns, as it showed more than two thirds of the stories focussed on the subjects of bullying, loneliness or being different.
The survey also asked parents about the impact of social media on their children’s friendships, with a third of respondents saying they believe social media has a negative impact on their friendships, compared to 16% who think it has a positive impact.