Tue, Mar 26, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Few playmates a concern: survey

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A mother guides her daughter down a slide yesterday at the Taipei City Songshan Parent-Child Center, which the Taipei City Government’s Department of Social Welfare has established for children under the age of three.

Photo: CNA

Ahead of Children’s Day on Thursday next week, the Child Welfare League Foundation yesterday released the results of a survey on parent-child play, showing that many parents with children under the age of six are concerned about their child or children “having no playmates.”

The survey, commissioned by the Taipei City Government’s Department of Social Welfare, was conducted by the foundation over 10 days this month.

It targeted parents with children under six years old who have visited the city’s municipal Parent-Child Centers at least once, to understand their concerns and gauge their overall satisfaction levels.

Through the responses of 1,023 parents, the survey showed that parents have four main concerns in parent-child play — their child or children having no playmates (51.2 percent), having no suitable location to play (45.5 percent), having to take too many playthings outdoor (43.7 percent) and not having enough money to play (36.8 percent).

Among the respondents, 65.9 percent have only one child under six years old, the foundation said, adding that the decreasing birth rate in Taiwan in recent years is reflected through the increasing number of families with only one child. Such children do not have siblings to play with, or have fewer opportunities to play with other children of the same age before entering preschool.

The survey also showed that 45.7 percent of respondents play with their child or children for less than an hour a day, while 17.9 percent said they play with their offspring for less than half an hour a day.

While 84.7 percent of the respondents said that they mostly play with their children at home, among the locations most often chosen by parents as playgrounds outside the home in the past three months are community public spaces such as parks and libraries (64.5 percent), large public recreational sites such as the Taipei Zoo (31.9 percent) and children’s play areas in hypermarkets or department stores (24.8 percent).

The department yesterday encouraged parents to try a “111 parent-child play” movement — playing with their children for at least one hour every day, taking them outdoors to play at least once a week and taking them to the municipal Parent-Child Centers at least once a month.

Department of Social Services Commissioner Chiang Yi-wen (江綺雯) said the city government wants to establish one municipal Parent-Child Center in every district in the city, to provide free, safe and high-quality spaces where parents and their offspring under six years old can play.

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