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Poll: Parents in Finland devote 5 hours weekly on average to kids' hobbies

Of the hobbies listed in the survey, hockey required the biggest parental input and scouting required the smallest.

Junioreita jalkapallokentällä.
Image: Mårten Lampén / Yle

Finnish parents spend an average of 5.17 hours on their children's extracurricular activities, according to a recent Yle-commissioned survey of over 1,000 Finns. The poll targeted parents who have children under the age of 18.

The five-hour average is typical for a family with two children with hobbies. According to the poll, the time devoted to driving, volunteering and/or coaching children's activities does not increase with the number of children, however, as parents of just one child devoted more time to their child's hobby.

Over 80 percent of the respondents said that most of the time they commit to their children's hobbies is spent on transportation.

One in ten said they also worked as a coach, teacher or assistant. Dads made up the majority of these kinds of volunteers.

Half of kids in Finland are active in sports clubs

Maria Ulvinen, a children's sports advisor to Finland's Olympic Committee, says parental encouragement is vital.

"Parents that are active and share in the joys and successes of their children and support them through the challenging moments always improve the children's self-motivation," she says.

The Taloustutkimus poll determined that parents of underage hockey players devote the most time (over 10 hours weekly) to their children's hobby, followed by floor hockey (7), track and field (6), and football, horseback riding and music lessons (5).

The activities that demanded the least parental time in the poll were dance and art classes (4 hours weekly) and scouting (3).

A new study of children and young people's leisure activities in 2018 from the Finnish Young Research Network states that 89 percent of underage residents have some kind of hobby while half are active in some kind of sports group.

Data from interviews with children and parents in the study suggested that regular physical exercise is associated with a higher than average feeling of satisfaction with one's health, appearance and life in general.

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