When her oldest child was in kindergarten, Laura Haggerty-Lacalle sat down with her every day to review reading or math, intent on providing that most precious commodity of all: parent time. “Oh my God, it’s the most important thing you can do,” she said.
But when her second child hit the same age, life was more hectic. Now, with a third child, Haggerty-Lacalle, 37, feels good when she gets five minutes to stack blocks or build Legos in her Oak Hill home. “When you have three kids,” she says, “you’re just trying to survive.”
Within this familiar progression of family life, new research has confirmed what some parents recognize and others quietly fear: Their firstborn children get more of their time than others in the family — on average, 3,000 extra “quality” hours from ages 4 to 13, when sisters and brothers are in the picture.
That’s 25 extra minutes a day with mothers on average and 20 extra minutes a day with fathers across a nine-year span of childhood, according to a study by economist Joseph Price of Brigham Young University.