Division and sharing in daily life of families with a young child

The study presents one of the analyses carried out on the data of the Multipurpose Survey on Time Use (Years 2002-2003) which were committed by the Italian National bureau of Statistics (ISTAT) to a multidisciplinary team of researchers.
The study examines the subgroup of households with children under the age of six, when the children's daily schedule is not dependent on the school schedules, but is the result of the organizational capacity of the family to cope with the non total availability of preschools for children aged between three and six and the scarcity of child care services for younger children. Thus, the daily life of these families is of particular interest as the presence of a young child per se demands specific care activities by the adult members and necessarily becomes a central element in the domestic organization. Knowing the impact the working times or the presence of children in the household have on daily life, as also the analysis of the children's day and the forms of leisure time are a necessary premise to plan family and labour market policies more adapt to the needs of the population, and in general to the improvement of life quality.
The structure of the Time Use Survey provides an exceptional opportunity to research, as it describes the behaviors of the members of each household and, thus, allows to identify as unit of analysis the family daily life. In the case of households that include young children it is therefore possible to accompany the analysis of the amount of time dedicated to family life respectively by the mothers and the fathers with the analysis of the interaction between the family commitments of each parent in each household. Thus, the analysis of the subdivision of the family commitment between the two parents can be coupled with that of their sharing. The analysis provides suggestions for planning policies aimed at guaranteeing equal educational opportunities, the development of equal socialization itineraries for all children, and support for parents in the care and education of their children.

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Contributo in volume
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Time Use in Daily Life, edited by Maria Clelia Romano, pp. 199–235. Roma: ISTAT, 2008
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Tullia Musatti's picture
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