Breakfast voted ‘most stressful time of the day’ by parents

By Daniel Stephenson
January 27 2020, 12.50

Tantrums, queues for the bathroom and running out of milk makes breakfast time the most stressful time of the day for parents.

A study of 1000 parents and their children was commissioned by Lyle’s Golden Syrup to encourage Brits to enjoy #LylesGoldenTime – 15 minutes connecting with loved ones over a good breakfast, setting everyone up in mind and body for the day ahead.

Conducted by OnePoll, the results of the study reveal that two-thirds of people feel there are never enough minutes in the day and wish they had the time to sit and talk together over the first meal.

Getting themselves (and the kids) out of bed on time, helping little ones brush their teeth, and making sure everyone eats well, topped the list of culprits behind morning stress.

In a typical working week families will eat together an average of just two out of five days and will finish their meals in under 10 minutes.

It was revealed that 15% never eat the first meal of the day together, whilst a third admit to feeling ‘swamped’ by ensuring everyone has breakfast and three in ten say they spend the majority of the morning preparing lunch for the family.

Sara Metcalfe, group product manager at Lyle’s Golden Syrup, said: “Monday to Friday means the weekly grind, and that starts in the morning.

“Breakfast is traditionally deemed the most important meal of the day, but a never-ending list of things to do can see us chasing our tails before we’ve even left the house.

“With kids running amuck, getting everyone to sit down and eat together can be hugely challenging. But taking those extra 15 minutes can make a world of difference.”

I spoke to primary school special educational needs teacher Yasmin, who runs a breakfast club in the mornings, to garner her views on the state of modern breakfast time.

She said: “The children often arrive at school late, without breakfast and upset when separating from families.

“Breakfast time is a daily routine. The children enjoy ordering the breakfast, toast or cereal, laying the table and coming together like a family.

“No one starts until everyone has sat down. It is a calm relaxed atmosphere with time to talk and share ideas.

“The children always feel more ready to face the rest of the day after breakfast.

“It is a crucial nurturing activity, which provides valuable time to connect with each other.”

As many as eight in ten children surveyed agreed that breakfast is important, with more than one in ten feeling that skipping the family meal can make school mornings more stressful. 

It also emerged that 62% of adults are grabbing breakfast on their commutes, rather than making time to eat, with the average adult skipping the meal entirely about twice a week.

Childminder Chandy, who provides breakfast for the children she looks after, said: “Sometimes parents struggle to give children breakfast.

“I offer toast, cooked breakfast, porridge and cereal. This helps calm the children down and with the combination of a tooth brushing activity, helps revitalise them for the day.”

A third of parents also said they gave their child something to eat ‘on the go’, so they don’t start the day on an empty stomach.

Ash, a working mum of two primary school aged children, said: “There is often no time for breakfast. We try to have breakfast, but between getting the three of us ready, doing their hair and sorting out the dog, I often have to give them a brioche as we’re walking out the front door.

“As I recently started working full time again, if we wake up a little late, breakfast is impossible.”

Angela, mother of two teenage girls, said: “Breakfast time was not a problem when they were in primary school, I would sit the children down and be able to manage it.

“But since going to secondary school they have become more independent, often not wanting any breakfast or not having enough time to fit it into their routines.

“Trying to endure a breakfast routine with teenagers is too difficult – however we do have our evening meal together.”

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