LiveWire went on-line this month to discover what a typical day is like for kids ages eight to 12 in the year 2000. Kids told us loud and clear that they are busier than ever-weekday schedules are highly structured and meticulously kept. Family time is a weekend essential, and kids’ interests are expanding to include many new hobbies and activities.
What we found:
Most of the kids on our panel get about nine hours of sleep each night, and a good majority eat breakfast every day. Before school, lots of kids are busy doing early morning chores such as making the bed and feeding the dog. Many find the time to catch early-morning cartoons (especially Pokémon) or, believe it or not, the morning news. It is also common for kids to get a quick dose of computer time before school-either on-line or playing video games.
After spending about six hours in class, the kids on our panel keep plenty busy-most take part in organized after-school activities. On average, each kid we surveyed participates in two different organized activities during the course of a week. Not surprisingly, the boys choose sports teams, Cub Scouts and science-related after-school clubs. The girls’ answers varied more, with a healthy reporting of seasonal sports, music lessons, dance classes, Girl Scouts or Brownies and the martial arts. Overall, the kids reported their activities with enthusiasm and a high awareness of tight scheduling. Kaila, a 10-year-old girl from Pennsylvania, relayed her schedule in no uncertain terms: ‘In the spring, I have volleyball. Right now, I have pottery on Wednesday and flute on Thursday. I did have an etiquette class on Monday, but that ended. School ends at 2:30 p.m., so from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday is stage craft and design. Tuesday through Thursday, I go to homework club.’
Most kids on our panel report that their families eat dinner together between four and seven times a week. Watching TV is one of their favorite after-dinner pastimes. After TV, the activities enjoyed by boys and girls begin to differ. Interestingly, activities reported by the boys tend to be more solitary in nature. They spoke about playing video games, surfing on-line for new sites relating to personal interests and reading. Girls, on the other hand, cited more interactive activities, such as playing board games with their family, talking on the phone, playing with siblings or simply talking with their mom or dad. The most common week night bedtime is approximately 9 p.m.
A typical day on the weekend begins early, around 7 a.m. Weekends include a host of activities, often beginning with a Saturday smattering of playing, shopping, sporting, sleep-overs and movies. Sundays often involve specific family traditions (in many cases related in great detail). A majority of the kids on the panel mentioned at least one family-oriented weekend activity. Approximate bedtime on the weekend is between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.
What kids said:
We asked kids to pretend they found a magic lamp with a genie that could grant each of them a wish to do whatever they wanted for a day. Here are some of their wishes:
‘I would want to play 18 holes of golf with Tiger Woods in Kapula Bay, Hawaii. We would drive around in a cart and I would have all the clubs Tiger has. I would have lunch with Tiger and we would eat cheeseburgers, french fries and a Coke.’ Ricky, 8, Ohio
‘I would want to go to Austria. I know it sounds a bit weird, but I have done two reports on it, and it is the most beautiful place in the world. Walking through Medieval villages, never being able to avoid the scenic view of the Alps, standing atop a castle looking down rolling hills-Austria’s my place.’ Corie, 12, Massachusetts
‘I would go to all the fun places around and buy all the stuff I want. I like all kinds of things, like Scooby-Doo and Pokémon and the Lion King, so I would go play and buy things for me and my family.’ Savannah, 9, Missouri
‘I wish that I had 10 bunnies and they were friendly and not shy. I would have a big birthday party with cake and ice cream and all the food I like. No Brother or sister would be there. Sally, my dog, could talk. And I would like wings so I could fly.’ Kelsey, 12, Colorado
‘I would like to take a big trip around the world and be able to get a present from every country that I go to. I could meet new people and eat the neat food.
I would buy presents for all of my friends and family.’ Chris, 12, Ohio
Kid Think Inc., a youth marketing consulting group, investigates a wide range of issues in kids’ lives. Kid Think talks with kids via LiveWire: Today’s Families Online,
a proprietary panel of more than 1,100 on-line families across the United States. Both Kid Think and LiveWire are divisions of Griffin Bacal, a New York-based
communications agency specializing in the youth and family markets. If you have any questions or subjects you would like Kid Think to cover, call Paul Kurnit at
212-415-2992 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.