More moms teaching preschoolers: survey

Kyodo News

More Japanese mothers are devoting themselves to educating their children in reading and arithmetic as well as daily routines before the kids enter elementary school.

A survey conducted by Tokyo-based Benesse Educational Research & Development Center last September and October asked what mothers focus on while parenting and educating their kids.

Of the respondents, 71 percent cited maintaining regular daily routines, representing a 15 point increase, while 88 percent said making their children become capable of expressing greetings and thanks, up 2 points.

This clearly indicates mothers are placing more emphasis on having their children learn basic living practices, the center said.

Mothers who teach their children to read and write before the offspring enter elementary school increased 5 points to 25 percent.

Mothers who give their children lessons on hiragana and katakana more than one day per week came to 51 percent, up 6 points. Those who teach numbers and arithmetic stood at 37 percent, also up 6 points.

The results suggest mothers are becoming more active in parenting and educating their children, the center said.

Of the respondents who are child-raising women in the Tokyo metropolitan region, 42 percent said they must put their children’s needs before their own.

The figure represented a 7 percentage point rise from the previous survey in 2003.

In contrast, women who say they balance their own lives and child-raising came to 57 percent, down 7 points. The poll covered 6,131 parents of kindergartners and day care toddlers across the country.

The center analyzed data from 3,069 mothers in Tokyo and Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures because comparable data in the 2003 survey are available only from mothers in the metropolitan region.

In the 2008 survey, the third in a series, the center looked into problems with raising children, including parenting and educational affairs and relations with children.

Benesse Educational Research & Development Center is affiliated with Benesse Corp., an Okayama-based correspondence education and publishing firm.