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You're wasting your time on children…

 Published 11th February 2020
Driver Guides 

We're all used to being told how many hours we waste on our phones; or watching television; or sitting in traffic.

Now there's a whole new way to waste your time.

It's part of daily life and is pretty much unavoidable for millions of us. According to a new snippet of research it now seems many of us are wasting four days every year just trying to get the kids into the car.

If you've got young children, or remember a time when you did, then this will be an all too familiar part of daily life. If you haven't got young children you'll have no idea what we're talking about…..yet.

The research was commissioned by SEAT as part of the marketing campaign for their flagship SUV, the Tarraco. That makes perfect sense given it's a big 7-seater with loads of useful bits of tech to make life easier when your hands are full of children.

SEAT Tarraco

How much time…?

Whether you want the big SUV isn't really the point, though, it's the sheer amount of time it takes just to get out of the house. The job of getting children out of the house and into the car adds an average of 20 minutes to the routine while one in 14 families reported it takes up to 40 minutes longer. The worst part is that this doesn't include actually driving the car to wherever the kids need to be, that time is taken up just getting them out of the house and into the car in the first place.

It turns out getting the kids into the car twice a day takes up a lot more time than you think.

Almost a third of parents reported being an average of 11 minutes late for work at least once a week, unless you live in London in which case you could be up to 18 minutes late. The additional time spent is mostly taken up persuading children to put their shoes and coats on before heading out of the door, with parents confirming that toddlers aged between two and three are the worst culprits when it comes to getting into the car quickly and easily. Nearly half (47%) agreed that the ‘terrible twos' are the most difficult to marshal, something that won't come as a surprise to any parent who has been through this particularly tricky age with their kids.

Geography plays a part in time wasted

There are some geographical differences that may bring hope to some of you. If you live in London then your children are the most likely to make you late for work, with 16 per cent of Londoners reporting that they are late every day because of the morning routine.

No prizes for guessing that London parents are also the most likely in the UK to dread the daily task of bundling their loved ones into the family vehicle.

At the other end of the scale, Scottish children appear to be much better behaved when it comes to leaving the house, with nearly half of parents north of the border revealing that their offspring never make them late. We have a sneaking suspicion that may be down to the fact Scottish weather can be a bit chillier than London so the children are probably more eager to wrap up warm before they leave the house.

Add in the other things likely to slow you down and it's easy to see why it can take up such a lot of time.

You've succeeded with the coat and shoes but now you have to get the children strapped into their car seats, organise last-minute toilet trips, and struggle with the sheer quantity of child-related paraphernalia that needs to be loaded into the car every time you want to venture into the outside world. Even a five minute trip to the shop can take half an hour by the time you've loaded them up at either end.

On the plus side it does look like bribery is a common tactic amongst parents so at least you won't need to feel guilty about it. It doesn't really matter whether it's with sweets, favourite music, or promises of treats at the destination, more than a quarter of parents admit to resorting to bribes to smooth the process of getting somewhere. It's also worth bearing in mind that if a quarter of parents admitted it there will be at least the same again who have done it but just didn't tell anyone.

There are laws against bribery but as far as we know none of them applies to persuading your children to get in the car.

Failing that you could always lease yourself a new car with more seats and some of those fancy bits of tech too.

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