A majority of kids (62 percent) say their parents are distracted when kids are trying to talk to them, according to Highlights magazine’s 2014 State of the Kid survey results, an annual survey that gives children ages 6 to 12 a national platform to share their thoughts and feelings about major issues.

For the sixth annual State of the Kid survey,  polled 1,521 children including both Highlights readers and non-readers to gain their insights on parental distractions, school, and extracurricular activities.

Phones are a Major Source of Distraction
When asked what distracts their parents, cell phones (28 percent) were the top response, followed by siblings (25 percent), work (16 percent), and TV (13 percent).  In total, technology phones, TV and laptops accounted for 51 percent of the responses.

Kids believe parents view their cell phones as essential. When asked what would happen if their parents lost their phone, answers ranged from “be mad” to “go crazy” to “get a replacement very fast.” Several respondents said losing a cell phone would be a good thing because it would mean Mom and Dad would have more time for family.

When it comes to finding focused time to talk to parents, kids say the best time is during a meal (33 percent), closely followed by bedtime (29 percent) and in the car (18 percent). They know their parents are really listening when parents look at them (56 percent), respond (28 percent) and stop doing everything else (11 percent).

Kids Are Excited About School,But Also Stressed
Most kids report feeling excited or happy as they head out to school in the morning (56 percent). However, these positive feelings decline as kids get older (48 percent of 11-12 year olds).

Despite these positive feelings, nearly half of respondents reported that they sometimes feel worried or stressed at school,a feeling that is more prominent among girls (52 percent) and older kids (55 percent of 11-12 year olds).  Kids cite tests (33 percent) as a primary source of stress, followed by math class (17 percent) and bad grades (10 percent). These results reinforce findings from the 2009 State of the Kid survey, which showed tests/schoolwork as the top response for kids’ “biggest problem right now.”

When it comes to doing well in school, most kids feel that working hard is more important than just being smart,73 percent vs. 23 percent. There are slight gender differences in that 70 percent of boys cited working hard as more important than being smart vs. 76 percent for girls.

Kids,Particularly Girls,Have A Lot of Activities Outside of School
There is considerable debate among parents about whether kids today are overscheduled with extracurricular activities.  Eighty-five percent of kids reported being involved in one or more extracurricular activities, with more girls (90 percent) involved in activities than boys (80 percent) and girls being involved in more activities.  Overwhelmingly, parents and kids choose which activities and the number of activities together.

SOURCE Highlights for Children

Geraldine Jensen

Publisher and Editor of Families Online Magazine. Our experts provide warm, loving, and generous advice for you, your family and children, no matter their age -- infants, school age, 'tweens, and teenagers. Features include:Parenting, Ages and Stages of Child Development, Child Support, Cooking, Health, Children's Books, Nutrition, Christian Parenting, Relationships, Green-living, Education and School

Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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