Study ex­plores mod­ern child-rear­ing

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

Tele­vi­sion is a daily sta­ple for most tots but bed­time sto­ries still have a place in many chil­dren’s rou­tines.

The lat­est re­sults of a lon­gi­tu­di­nal study of Kiwi kids has re­vealed some in­sights into the lives of tod­dlers, and the rev­e­la­tions are no sur­prise to Mt Roskill mum-ofthree El­lie Pike.

Tantrums and tech­nol­ogy played a big part in the early years of her young fam­ily, like many other fam­i­lies in the study.

Pike’s 5-year-old twins Isla and Is­abelle Kennedy are two of al­most 7000 sub­jects tak­ing part in the Grow­ing up in New Zealand study which will fol­low chil­dren from birth un­til they turn 21.

The third re­port, based at Auck­land Univer­sity and funded by govern­ment agencies, fo­cuses on the chil­dren at 2 years old.

It found tod­dlers spend an aver­age of 1.5 hours a day in front of a TV screen, with 80 per cent of chil­dren watch­ing TV or DVDs daily.

Just 66 per cent of 2 year olds are read to daily.

Pike ad­mits her chil­dren are prone to spend­ing ex­tended pe­ri­ods in front of the box.

‘‘They watch too much TV and that’s my fault but they also spend a lot of their time out­side on their bikes and play­ing with other kids up the street.’’

The com­mu­nity vibe of the street, where she lives with her part­ner John Kennedy, is play­ing a big part in her chil­dren’s up­bring­ing, she says.

It harks back to the cou­ple’s own child­hoods where ‘‘ev­ery­one knew ev­ery­one’’.

‘‘That’s some­thing that I love. Ev­ery time I think about it, it warms my heart and it gives you a lit­tle bit of hope and pride.’’

Glen­dowie mum-of-three Rachel Beat­tie says books are hugely im­por­tant in her fam­ily.

Her daugh­ter Sophie, 5, is al­ways read at least one bed­time story a night, she says.

‘‘We don’t like us­ing TV as a babysit­ter – the kids will watch about half an hour of TV in the morn­ing over break­fast but gen­er­ally they won’t have TV at night.’’

Pike thinks money is the big­gest worry for young fam­i­lies in cen­tral Auck­land, while Beat­tie says dis­ci­pline is an on­go­ing chal­lenge for most par­ents. Four out of five chil­dren in the study ‘‘of­ten’’ ex­pressed their feel­ings by hav­ing a tantrum.

Both mums say the sup­port of ex­tended fam­ily is in­valu­able when rais­ing young chil­dren.

But Beat­tie says many par­ents are now find­ing them­selves in cit- ies with­out fam­ily close by.

‘‘In the old days it was al­ways said it takes a vil­lage to raise a child but I think you have to find your own dif­fer­ent kind of vil­lage now and friends play a big­ger role in that,’’ she says.

The re­port shows just 14 per cent of Euro­pean chil­dren live in an ex­tended fam­ily house­hold, com­pared to about 43 per cent of Pa­cific and 27 per cent of Asian and Maori chil­dren.

The study’s di­rec­tor, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor Su­san Mor­ton, says the re­port helps build an un­der­stand­ing of what shapes chil­dren’s de­vel­op­ment and the ar­eas where New Zealand ‘‘could do much bet­ter’’.

‘‘In­fec­tious dis­eases are com­mon and hospi­tal ad­mis­sions for re­s­pi­ra­tory and other ill­nesses are also high,’’ Mor­ton says.

‘‘We are hope­ful that the in­for­ma­tion we are col­lect­ing will help us to un­der­stand how we can im­prove these sta­tis­tics.’’

Grow­ing up:

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.