Study Reveals Importance of Downtime and Humour in South African Kid’s Lives

Study Reveals Importance of Downtime and Humour in South African Kid’s Lives - 4aKid

Turner’s Boomerang, the home of Tom and Jerry and Mr Bean and the channel that promises ‘endless moments of pure enjoyment’, has conducted a brand-new study with parents across South Africa looking into the importance of downtime and humour for its core audience, the four to seven-year-old child.

With 500 South African parents of kids aged four to seven-years-old participating, the study revealed that kids as young as four-years old often have more commitments and busier social diaries than their parents! In addition to school or nursery, 48% of parents of kids aged four to seven said that their kids have between four and seven hours of commitments, activities and social events in a normal week. In Johannesburg and Pretoria this rises to 54%.

More than 30% said their four to seven-year-olds have up to 1,5 hours* per week of school homework (*between 30 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes) and more than 40% have up to an hour per week of housework/chores. 40% also have up to two hours* per week of playdates with friends (*between 30 minutes and 2 hours). Almost 50% also spend up to two hours per week at birthday parties.

As a result of these extra commitments, activities and social events, more than a quarter of parents surveyed said their four to seven-year-olds’ diaries are busier than theirs! Almost 20% said their child gets some, but not enough, downtime – and almost a third (32%) of parents felt that compared to their own childhood, their child values downtime more than they did because there is less of it.

Playing with friends or siblings, playing with family and watching TV are the moments when parents said their child tends to laugh most. Watching TV is the top activity kids would choose for downtime at night and during wet weather – and 95% of four to seven-year-olds would choose to watch cartoons over any other genre to help them relax.

Julien Borde, Head of Channels Kids and General Entertainment, Turner Africa, France, French speaking territories and Israel said:

“Boomerang offers kids a safe space and time to relax, laugh – and be kids! The time between four and seven years is when kids’ lives start to get a little more serious, and we want to provide them with a qualitative line-up that is filled with non-stop moments of pure enjoyment. This recent study gives us meaningful insights to kids’ need for commitment-free downtime, something we’ve taken carefully into consideration with our new channel refresh. Our line-up serves non-stop entertainment and fun from old friends such as frenemies, Tom and Jerry, to new ones such as the raccoon, Taffy, posing as the fluffy angora cat in Mrs Muchmore’s manor. We are dedicated to staying in tune and reflect the needs of our audiences, and we are excited putting the results of the survey into action. We want to bring kids more to laugh about, with the simple promise of a good time.”

Watch. Play. Laugh

Humour also plays an important role in children’s development, with a number of reasons cited by parents surveyed: it creates happiness and fun (68%); it forms emotional intelligence (57%); and it provides a bond between people/helps form friendships (49%). 57% of parents say that humour helps their child form emotional intelligence. When asked what they like most about their child’s laughter, one third of parents answered that ‘it indicates that they are happy’, whilst a further 22% said they most liked ‘the sound of their child’s laugh’. 25% of the sample said their child mainly gets their humour from TV.

When asked about their child watching TV programmes that aren’t educational, 42% of parents said they’re ok with it but don’t encourage it – however, when asked about the benefits, 64% said ‘it allows them to develop’ (e.g. a sense of humour, imagination, creativity) and 60% said ‘it provides downtime’ (to relax and recuperate properly). More than half the respondents also cited ‘fun/pleasure’ and that ‘it allows them to develop language skills’.


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