From not taking enough photos to working too hard, what parents 'truly' regret from their child's early years
15:17 GMT, 20 August 2012
Parents will attest that their children grow up in the blink of an eye and now many have admitted they regret not spending enough time with their young ones in their formative years.
Working too hard and worrying too much about things that didn't really matter were top of the list of parents' regrets.
Not playing with their child more often, not taking enough photos and waiting too long before teaching them to swim were also high up according to the poll of 2,000 parents.
Say cheese: Mums and Dads polled wished they had taken more photos of their children growing up (posed by models)
Seven out of ten 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, who commissioned the research as part of their campaign to encourage more parents to take their children swimming, said: 'Things can seem simpler with hindsight, and it seems you definitely live and learn when you are a parent.
'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.'
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. And two thirds admit 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.
Family time: Parents said they regretted not taking their children on more holidays (posed by models)
PARENTS TOP 20 REGRETS
1. Working too much
2. Worrying about the little things
3. Not playing with them more
4. Not going on more holidays
5. Not taking enough photos
6. Spending too much time away
7. Not filming enough events or milestones in their lives
8. Not taking them on 'big' holidays such as Disneyland
9. Not encouraging them to take up a/more hobbies
10. Not having a shared hobby
11. Not reading enough to them at bedtime
12. Spending too much time worrying about housework
13. Not taking them swimming more
14. Not letting them take part in messy activities more often
15. Not teaching them to swim earlier
16. Not being at some of the milestones in their life
17. Not making enough of Christmas/birthdays with them
18. Being too over-protective
19. Always waiting for the next milestone instead of enjoying the current one
20. Not enjoying days out more
Not playing with offspring often enough, not going on more family holidays and not taking enough photos over the years completed the top five.
Other regrets included not going on once in a lifetime holidays like Disneyworld or Lapland, missing milestones like their first steps or words and waiting too long before teaching them to swim.
More than half of parents also said they regret not having more quality time with their children when they were younger while 63 per cent wished they had done more activities with their child, such as teaching them to swim or playing a sport.
The study also found that 46 per cent of parents have regrets because they have realised they will never get those early years back, while 18 per cent 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 per cent 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.
And more than a quarter admit they have given advice to friends after they had children, so they didn’t feel the same way.