A survey out this week reveals parents in the South East do not prioritise playing with their children, with nearly one in 10 – seven per cent - saying that they only spend one to two hours per week playing with their kids. The survey results are particularly poignant as yesterday (Tuesday, August 6) was National Play Day, a time committed to ensuring that children in the UK enjoy their right to play. Upon the arrival of a baby brother or sister, 16 per cent parents said that their first child was very attention seeking, angry and upset. Reflecting on these findings, only three per cent of parents in the South East feel guilty for not preparing their child for the arrival of their second as this has had a directly negative effect on their first child's behaviour or well-being. Parenting expert, Sue Atkins says: "The arrival of a new baby can bring many changes to a family. Parents spend a lot of energy on preparations and after the baby arrives much of the family's attention involves meeting the newborn's basic needs. "All this change can be hard for older siblings to handle. It's common for them to feel jealousy toward the newborn and to react to the upheaval by playing up, being naughty or attention seeking. "Role playing with dolls is a brilliant way to open up the conversation and to talk and teach your little ones about their new baby sister or brother." Over half – 60 per cent - of parents in the South East play with their children for fewer than 6 hours each week, despite the fact that 73 per cent agreed that playing with toys helped them become more nurturing and caring while they were growing up. Zapf Creation, the maker of Baby Annabell, commissioned the survey to help gain insight into play patterns, specifically looking at how role play can help prepare a first born child for the arrival of a baby brother or sister. Marketing manager Marian Davis said: "We are delighted with the insight that we've gained from running this survey. "The statistics are both concerning and reassuring – parents seemingly aren't finding time to invest in playtime with their little ones but they equally believe in the benefits that the special time has for their children."
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