LONDON, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Children in Britain from lower social groupings miss out on playtime or reading with their parents, compared to kids from higher social groups, a report revealed Thursday.
A new study, released by the Social Mobility Commission, has highlighted a wide division in parenting and children's life chances.
Former Member of Parliament, Alan Milburn, who chairs the Commission, said the report produced by Oxford University's Nuffield College, shows a yawning divide in the life chances of kids.
The study used data from the 1960s to the present day and found some improvements in the early life chances of the least advantaged children in Britain.
But it also uncovered a wide social divide between children from families with high and low socio-economic status (SES) in building the childhood foundations for mobility in later life - such as dads reading to, and parents playing with, their kids.
The report was inspired by "Our Kids", an alarming portrait of growing inequality in the United States in relation to parental time investment.
The Nuffield College report was commissioned by the Social Mobility Commission to replicate the findings in the "Our Kids" report for British kids.
"Overall the picture in the United Kingdom does not look as bleak as in the United States. Families eating their evening meals together do not vary much, and inequalities are not worsening over time," said a spokesman for the commission.
British parents helping with homework increased from 81 percent to 83 percent and the likelihood of mothers reading regularly to their children has increased substantially between 1965 and 2006, from 50 percent to 95 percent.
The amount of time parents invest in developmental activities such as playing or reading with their young children, known as 'Gruffalo' time, saw an average increase from 23 minutes a day in 1975 to 80 minutes a day in 2015.
But the report said worryingly in areas vital to child development and attainment at school, gaps are widening between high and low social economic status families. It highlighted fathers reading regularly to children, with the gap between high SES fathers and low SES fathers increasing by almost three quarters - from 15 percentage points in 1965 to 26 percentage points in 2006.
Very young children with parents from better-off groups receive on average 40 minutes a day more parental engagement in developmental activities, like playing and reading, than lower group parents, a gap that's widened since the 1970s.
Children from higher social groups are also more likely to participate with their parents in sport and physical activity, as well as cultural activities such as visiting art galleries.
Millburn added: "Every parent tries to do the best for their kids and this report shows parental involvement increasing over time. But there remains a yawning divide in children's life chances. The social class make-up of children's behavioral and emotional problems is truly shocking.
"Low incomes and insecure jobs place an enormous strain on family life. It is not right that children from low SES families miss out on the opportunities for play with their parents or reading with their dads that is the norm for their better-off peers. These activities are vital to children's development and provide a platform for improved educational attainment at school and social mobility in adulthood.
"This report makes clear that parenting can no longer be a no-go area for public policy. Parenting has not received the attention it deserves and the government must do more to offer support." Enditem