Why more than half of parents say they’re too busy to enjoy quality time with their kids

New research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the Crayola Experience reveal the percentage of parents who fear they don’t spend enough time with their children. (Photo by David Straight on Unsplash)

More than half of parents are too busy to enjoy the fun of parenting, according to a new survey.

The recent poll of 2,000 parents (with children aged 3–16) found that 55 percent believe they’re missing out on the fun of parenting due to their other obligations.

In fact, 67 percent of parents worry about missing special moments while their little ones are still young — and 40 percent admit they’ve already missed at least one important milestone in their child’s life.

Results showed that 78 percent wish they had more time to spend with their kids, while 82 percent of the parents studied feel their children are simply growing up too quickly.

Conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with the Crayola Experience, the survey examined the parental dilemmas facing respondents and discovered that parents aren’t the only ones feeling like they’re missing out on time with their family.

Turns out, 82 percent of parents polled have had their child complain about not spending enough quality time with their parents, with a quarter (25 percent) hearing these types of complaints often.

Even when parents do spend time with their kids, the children often feel their parents aren’t fully present in the activity — and parents agree. Of those studied, 78 percent have had their child express feelings that the parent isn’t fully engaged when they’re supposed to be spending time together, with 26 percent of the kids feeling that way all the time.

Reinforcing that feeling is that more than half (55 percent) of parents confess to not being fully engaged with their children when spending time with them.

“Let’s face it. The daily responsibilities of parenting can rapidly fill up our days and sometimes the fun of parenting can get lost,” said Victoria Lozano, mother of three and senior vice president of Crayola Experience, Crayola’s premier, one-of-a-kind family attraction. “Before we know it, we’re wondering where the time went and how the kids grew up so quickly.”

Despite feeling like the daily responsibilities can get the best of them, parents are eager to share special moments with their children. Among the top five activities parents want to experience with their kids is exploring their creativity (45 percent).

And there would seem to be plenty of opportunities to engage in moments of creativity with their children since nearly half (48 percent) of parents surveyed encourage their child to be creative every single day, with up to 90 percent doing so at least once a week.

The pride parents feel about their kids’ creative achievements is also evident. Two-thirds (66 percent) of those surveyed say they display their child’s artwork somewhere. The walls are the most popular place to exhibit these masterpieces (61 percent), followed by the office (56 percent) and the time-honored refrigerator (54 percent).

“Parents clearly value creativity as something that needs to be nurtured and celebrated in their children’s lives,” Lozano said. “And it’s by experiencing those creative moments, in whatever form, with their children that parents can have fun parenting and at the same time create memories of a lifetime.”

Going to a sporting event (47 percent) teaching them a new skill (46 percent), taking a road trip (45 percent) and going to a museum (44 percent) round out the top five moments parents want to share with their kids while they are still young.

In addition, 84 percent of parents polled also believe it’s important to re-experience some of their own childhood family memories with their children such as going camping, playing games, building a snowman and having a picnic.

Creating these types of long-lasting memories with their children is important to the vast majority (94 percent) of parents surveyed.

However, nearly 70 percent said they worry that they are not creating enough of those family memories. The major culprits seem to be everyday distractions (50 percent), coming up with an activity (45 percent) and a lack of time (44 percent).

“It’s not surprising that a crucial element in the special moments families remember most is the quality of the time spent together — when they can immerse themselves in the moment, have meaningful interactions, and actively have fun together without distraction,” Lozano said. ”That’s why we focus on creative experiences for the entire family and creating spaces where parents and children can come together to create, play and make those lifelong memories.”


  1. Going to a sporting event 47%
  2. Teaching them a new skill 46%
  3. Exploring their creativity 45%
  4. Taking a road trip 45%
  5. Going to a museum 44%
  6. Playing sports 43%
  7. Watching them learn or experience something new 42%
  8. Playing games 40%
  9. Reading with them 39%
  10. Exploring the outdoors 39%


  1. Balancing spending quality time with kids and getting through the day 53%
  2. Constantly worried about child’s safety 48%
  3. Maintaining a work-life balance 44%
  4. Keeping kids motivated 41%
  5. Knowing when to step in and when to step back 41%
  6. Witnessing all my kids’ milestones 40%
  7. Facing judgment from other parents 38%
  8. Amount of children’s screen time 37%
  9. Managing parental emotions 37%
  10. Overload of information 30%


  1. Give up alcohol 37%
  2. Sit in traffic 36%
  3. Stand in line at the DMV 35%
  4. Give up chocolate 35%
  5. Give up watching sports 31%
  6. Give up date nights with my partner 31%
  7. Never retire 29%
  8. Give up shopping 28%
  9. Spend all the holidays with the in-laws 27%
  10. Gain 30 pounds 24%

>> Download the video and infographic for this research story <<

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