You’re looking to bond with your second-born-or third or fourth, for that matter-so what activity do you choose? If you’re like a lot of parents, you grab the remote and flip on the television. No wonder first-borns get more education, more money and score higher on IQ tests.
A recent study shows that first-born children get about 3,000 more hours of quality time with their parents between the age of 4 and 13 than the next sibling gets when they pass through the same age range. And that number gets more dismal with each subsequent child.
“On any given day, it’s going to feel like you’re spending more time with younger kids and that’s true,” says Joe Price, the Brigham Young University economics professor who conducted the study. “But what you want to ask is: Am I spending as much quality time with my second-born 6-year-old as I did with my first-born when he was 6 years old? That’s where the difference is.”
First-born children get more time with parents reading together, talking, playing and helping with homework, while second and thirds get more TV time. But it’s easy to counteract this, Price says. “Watching TV with kids is the most common parent-child activity other than eating. If even some of this time can be diverted into reading and talking together, it will help.”