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What Did You Do Today? Children's Use of Time, Family Composition, and the Acquisition of Social Capital

Suzanne M. Bianchi and John Robinson
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 59, No. 2 (May, 1997), pp. 332-344
DOI: 10.2307/353474
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353474
Page Count: 13
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What Did You Do Today? Children's Use of Time, Family Composition, and the Acquisition of Social Capital
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Abstract

Using time-diary data collected from a statewide probability sample of California children aged 3-11, we examine the amount of time children spend on four activities presumed to affect their cognitive and social development—reading or being read to, watching TV, studying, and doing household chores—and how that time varies by four family characteristics: parental education, maternal employment, number of parents in the household, and family size. As expected, children of highly educated parents study and read more and watch TV less. Contrary to expectations, children of mothers who are employed part-time watch significantly less TV than children of mothers at home full-time. Otherwise, there are few significant differences by mother's extent of paid employment, the presence of a father, and the number of siblings. Thus, the results reinforce the thesis that parental education is the predominant predictor of the human and social capital investments that children receive.

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