The average parent has five regrets from their child’s early years, research has revealed. The study of 2,000 parents found that of the top 20 regrets, parents mainly regretted working too much, not playing with their child more often and waiting too long before taking them to the pool or teaching them to swim.
Constantly worrying about the little things, not going on more holidays and not capturing enough moments on photos or videos were also in the top twenty.
Seven out of ten parents also admitted they took their youngster’s childhood for granted, with more than two thirds saying it is easy to forget they won’t be young forever.
Lauren Revell, from Huggies Little Swimmers, which commissioned the research, said:
‘’Things can seem simpler with hindsight, and it seems you definitely live and learn when you’re a parent.
‘’When your little ones are young, it’s easy to imagine your baby being that age forever.
‘’It’s only a few years down the line, as your children are getting older, that you really start to look back and wish you had done some things differently.
‘’When it comes to parenting, many mums and dads wish they could spend a little more quality time with their little ones, but given the pressures of daily life sometimes these opportunities can be lost.
‘’Lots of parents have regrets because it’s very easy to look backwards – that being said, it’s never too late to change those – whether it’s spending more time with your children, going on family holidays or taking your little one swimming.’’
Researchers found that more than three quarters of parents have at least one thing they regret doing, or not doing, during their child’s first few years, with two thirds admitting they would do things different if they could relive the period again.
Spending too much time at work was the biggest regret, followed by worrying too much about the little things which didn’t really matter.
Not playing with them enough, not going on more family holidays and not taking enough photos over the years completed the top five.
Other regrets include:
- Not going on once in a lifetime holidays like Disneyworld or Lapland;
- Missing milestones like their first steps or words;
- Waiting too long before teaching them to swim.
More than half of parents also said they regret not spending more quality time with their children when they were younger, and 63% of parents wish they did more sporting activities with their child.
The study also found that 46% of parents hold regrets because they have realised they will never get those early years back, while 18% worry their child’s life might have been affected by something they did or didn’t do.
A quarter also worry that their youngster’s childhood wasn’t as fun as it could have been and 17% said they didn’t enjoy their child’s early years as much as they should have.
Almost six in ten of those parents who have had more than one child said they did things differently with their second child to make sure they didn’t end up with the same regrets.
More than a quarter admit to trying to amend their mistakes with advice they had given friends, so they didn’t feel the same way.
Lauren Revell, from Huggies Little Swimmers added:
‘’With so many wonderful sporting events taking place in the UK this year, many parents seem to wish they had involved their children in sport from a younger age.
‘’The good thing is, for those with older children it’s never too late, and for those with babies, activities like swimming can be done from just months old.
‘’This summer, Huggies Little Swimmers is encouraging mums and dads to take to the water with their little ones as part of the Swim Savvy campaign.’’
Top 20 regrets from parents:
- Working too much
- Worrying too much about the little things that didn’t really matter
- Not playing with them more
- Not going on more holidays
- Not taking enough photos
- Spending too much time away from then
- Not filming enough events or milestones in their lives
- Not taking them on ‘big’ holidays such as Disneyland
- Not encouraging them to take up a/more hobbies
- Not having a shared hobby
- Not reading enough to them at bedtime
- Spending too much time worrying about keeping the house clean
- Not taking them swimming more often
- Not letting them take part in messy activities more often
- Not teaching them to swim earlier
- Not seeing/being at some of the milestones in their life
- Not making enough of Christmas/birthdays with them
- Being too over-protective
- Always waiting for the next milestone instead of enjoying the current one
- Not enjoying days out more