New parent survey: Where do you fit in?

If you were suddenly to be presented with the gift of a few more hours in your day, how would you spend them?

When Gerber Products asked parents this heady question, 60 percent said they would spend more quality time with their children. Twenty-four percent said they would spend the extra time on themselves.

And again as a parent, what do you find the most challenging part of your day? Getting the kids to bed, said 22 percent of parents in the Gerber survey; this was closely followed by shopping or running errands (21 percent).

Some Œdad stats': Fifty-four percent of fathers said they share equally the responsibilities of caring for their children when they are hurt or ill or soothing them when they cry. And fifty-four percent of dads view diaper-changing as a shared responsibility.

Equal time? Not quite. Sixty-nine percent of parents share the responsibility of playing with their children, and 60 percent share the role of disciplinarian.

Almost all parents place high priority on their children's safety (89 percent), edication (88 percent), health (86 percent), and nutrition (79 percent). They are also not apprehensive about asking for help on raising babies. Eighty-three percent of fathers turn to spouses or partners when they need help or information, whereas more than three-quarters of mothers turn to their children's grandparents for advice. Parents are also going high-tech for answers to parenting questions. Four out of 10 fathers go to the Internet for help or information, compared with three out of 10 mothers.


Parents are thinking about their children's futures as well. Nearly all parents said it is important for their children to be happy and healthy (98 percent), enjoy life (97 percent), and have good values (96 percent). Making a lot of money was ranked lowest (28 percent).

Thirty-seven percent of parents begin to save for their child's education before the child is born, and 55 percent start saving during their baby's first or second years.

And here's a statistic that probably sounds most familiar: 71 percent of parents are very satisfied with the qaulity of time they have with their babies, though 83 percent wish they had more time to relax with them. And nearly two-thirds of moms said they would stop working completely and spend more time with their children if finances allowed. (Gerber's survey was done by phone and tabulated responses from 506 parents nationwide).