Parents spend the equivalent of six days a year dealing with ‘domestic dramas’, a study has found.
Getting the kids to go to bed, convincing them to eat what is put in front of them and putting a stop to sibling rows means mums and dads face 23 minutes a day of tantrums and arguments.
That amounts to two hours and 41 minutes of each week or the equivalent of almost six full days over the course of a year.
Encouraging the children to eat their veg also leads to family disagreements, along with trying to get kids to do their homework and simply getting them to come to the table when dinner is ready.
But the poll, by Dolmio also found parents will also spend 27 hours a year on top of that – the equivalent of more than a day – cooking food which will go uneaten, amounting to a full week of missed family time.
And more than half of parents even admitted to cooking two or three different meals to keep everyone at the table happy – meaning more time is spent cooking, leaving just one hour and 47 minutes to spend real quality time with their family a day.
Psychologist and family expert Corinne Sweet, believes getting the children involved in dinner time can help to relive the domestic dramas around dinner time.
She said: “Try involving children in meal planning, deciding together what you will eat as a family and then getting involved with the preparation and a bit of cooking.
“Not only will this encourage healthy eating habits for the future, but when children feel involved in decision making they are less likely to throw a tantrum or waste food.
“Fun dinner time games can be a good way to start the meal off on a positive note, for instance: ‘High, low, and haha’ – where everyone shares the peak, the low and the funniest moment of their day.”
The study of 2,000 parents, carried out on OnePoll.com, found getting the children to bed is the most common cause of family rows, followed by trying to encourage youngsters to do their homework and stop them from watching the TV.
Even getting their children to sit at the table for dinner leads to fall outs, with parents calling the kids – and their partner – to the table 1,500+ times a year before they finally take their seat.
But it doesn’t stop once everyone is at the table with 28 per cent saying dinner is disrupted by rows as children avoid eating their veg.
One in four face children refusing to eat what has been prepared, 17 per cent have kids who demand a different meal while 16 per cent say their offspring want to eat dessert first.
To try and get children to eat their dinners, more than a third of parents entice them with the promise of pudding, while almost a quarter promise more time watching TV or using their tablet or phone as a reward.
But pizza was named the meal most likely to please everyone, followed by the classic go to Spaghetti Bolognese, sausage and mash, curry and burgers.
Researchers also found that while 88 per cent of parents believe dinner is the perfect opportunity for quality family time, many are spending a disproportionate amount of time cooking to sitting down.
Nearly half (44 per cent) of British households spend up to 45 mins per day preparing food, yet a third spend less than 15 minutes at the table together.
As a result, two thirds (71 per cent) would like to spend more quality time as a family, while 54 per cent dream of having more stress-free time with their children.
One in five even admitted they would be prepared to give up £200 a week in return for quality time without any other worries with their family.
Dolmio has commissioned the research to support the ‘No drama’ campaign and TVC, staring Dominic West as a melodramatic father so engrossed in a video game with his son that they are reluctant to come to the table for dinner – until mum announces that it’s Spaghetti Bolognese on the menu.
Dolmio Marketing Manager, Ian Nundy said: “We believe that shared meals with family and friends are one of the best opportunities to bring us closer together, and our survey backs this up, with nearly 90 per cent of parents in the UK agreeing that dinner is the perfect opportunity for quality family time.
“I’m not surprised to see Spaghetti Bolognese remaining a popular choice for British families; it’s an easy, convenient enjoyable meal-solution that ticks so many boxes, even including one of your five a day ensuring clean plates and a happy, drama free, household.”
Top ten causes of domestic dramas and rows
- Getting the children to go to bed
- Getting the children to do their homework
- Getting the children to stop watching
- Encouraging children to eat their vegetables
- Getting the children to stop fighting or arguing with each other
- Children refusing to eat the food which is put in front of them
- Getting the children to come to the dinner table
- Getting the children to clean their teeth
- Getting the children into the bath or shower
- Getting the children to stop asking the same questions