How Much Time with Children Is Enough? Actual Childcare Time and Subjective Perceptions across European Countries

Caroline Berghammer , University of Vienna and Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, OeAW, Univ. Vienna)
Melissa Milkie, University of Toronto

Although parents’ time spent in childcare has increased over the past decades in most Western countries, many parents perceive that time with their children is too scarce. In the U.S. and Canada – where evidence is available – around one-half of parents think that they do not spend enough time with their children, and these deficits are linked to parents’ distress. However, there is a lack of comparative research, providing a window into contextual effects, on this question. Based on the Quality of Life in Europe 2016 survey and using multilevel models, we address the following research questions across 31 countries: What share of parents think that they do not spend enough time with their children? How does this perception depend on actual time spent with children and on parents’ characteristics (such as gender or employment)? How can we explain cross-country differences in parents’ subjective perceptions of childcare time?

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 Presented in Session 95. Challenges of Parenting