Mums and Dads say no to ‘competitive parenting’

The stress of ‘competitive parenting’ – the constant comparison of children’s development   between Mums & Dads – is one of the biggest concerns for modern British parents, according to new figures released today, with parents voicing their concerns against it.

New research by LEGO DUPLO has found that, despite one in five British parents (20 per cent) comparing their children to their friends’ little ones via Facebook and Instagram at least once a week, a huge 92 per cent of parents also believe children should be encouraged to develop at their own rate. 87 per cent of parents agreed that the most important thing that should be celebrated is a child’s own individuality.

71 per cent of parents believed that every milestone a child meets, however small, should be celebrated as they grow – with over half (57 per cent) disagreeing with the idea that only ’recognised’ developmental milestones should be celebrated.

Almost one in ten parents (eight per cent) say the pressure to ensure their child was meeting ‘expected milestones’ caused them more stress than moving house – whilst a similar total (10 per cent) said they feel like a failure as a parent if their child doesn’t reach a milestone within the expected timeframe. One in three parents (32 per cent) also believed that current developmental milestones should include more measures to track the growth of children’s imaginations.

A child’s imagination helps to carve out their individuality from a young age and is one of the most important tools in aiding a child’s development. 75 per cent of British parents agreed that role play is of key importance in a child’s development, with 40 per cent saying they believe imagination and creativity are the most important factors in aiding development for children between 18 months and four years of age.

In partnership with parenting expert Dr Ellie Cannon, LEGO DUPLO is encouraging Mums & Dads in 2018 to do away with ‘competitive parenting’ and celebrate their kids’ growth through personalised goals that suit them – as part of their Make Your Own Milestones campaign, celebrating kids across the UK as the individuals they are.

With 82 per cent of British parents openly admitting that they compare their child’s development against their peers, Dr Ellie Cannon said, ”One of the most incredible things about children is their individuality, and the progress they make each and every day when they are growing.

”There are a set of widely accepted developmental goals that allow parents to track their children’s progress, but these should be treated as a guide and are by no means the only thing we should be celebrating or judging our children on as they develop. The competition and pressure parents put on themselves does not help their child’s development, but will actually contribute to stress and anxiety in both the children and the parents.”

Dads are likely to spend more time checking their child’s progress (averaging 67 minutes per week) than Mums (55 minutes), whilst first-time parents spend longer checking on milestones each week (62 minutes compared to 55 minutes for parents who have more than one child).

As part of the Make Your Own Milestones campaign, LEGO DUPLO has created The Other Red Book; a physical & digital tool that encourages parents to set and share personalised goals for their children, with tips and activities to aid development, from birth and beyond, with tools such as LEGO DUPLO.

This month, LEGO Group released its new ‘Play Well Report’, surveying nearly 13,000 parents and children in nine countries to understand the state of play today and encourage discussion around its ongoing importance.

The report reveals a strong link between the hours spent playing together and the happiness of families, with nine out of 10 families (88%) who play for five hours or more a week claiming to be happy.

The findings also highlighted the importance of play in child development. Experts agree on the need for a wide repertoire of play styles to help children develop, however parents also concluded that construction toys such as LEGO bricks help children develop life skills (74%), help children learn new things (91%) and stimulate imagination (94%).

The full LEGO Play Well Report 2018, including market findings, can be viewed here.

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