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Basic Survey on Child Rearing in Japan I - 4

Basic Survey on Child Rearing in Japan I
PICKUP DATA 8 Swimming is the most popular after-school lesson.
Family enjoyment and opportunity to make friends are important criteria (Table 8).


Table8
After-school lessons X gender (Figures show the percentage taking lessons)

  Total Male Female
Swimming 37.7 43.0 32.4
Sports and gymnastics 15.0 18.9 11.1
Local sports team 6.4 11.5 1.3
Ballet and rhythmical gymnastics 6.2 1.0 11.5
Musical instruments (private lessons for piano, violin, etc.) 20.9 11.6 30.3
Music for pre-school children 9.3 6.9 11.8
Drawing and plastic art 5.0 5.3 4.7
Calligraphy 8.2 6.8 9.7
Abacus 2.0 2.7 1.4
Language classes and private English conversation lessons, etc. 10.3 10.7 9.9
Pre-school children's class and playroom not for entrance exams 4.9 4.6 5.1
Classes using printed materials for math and dictation 9.5 10.2 8.9
Correspondence education with monthly delivery of teaching materials 20.5 21.0 20.1
One-time purchase of correspondence education and teaching materials 5.4 4.8 6.0
Cram schools or tutors for entrance exams 1.6 1.7 1.5
Classes and activities run by local governments 3.3 2.8 3.9
Note: Answers were provided by non-members of Benesse's correspondence education to give a balanced look at after-school learning

Top five after-school lessons are: (1) swimming, (2) musical instruments, (3) correspondence education, (4) sports and (5) English conversation
64.9% of the children take lessons after school. 36.2% of pre-school children in the lower grade take lessons. This percentage increases in the higher grades (84.8% for 2nd graders). Top five lessons are: (1) swimming (37.7%), (2) musical instruments (20.9%), (3) correspondence education with monthly delivery of teaching materials (20.5%), (4) sports (15.0%) and (5) English conversation (10.3%). Children take 1.9 lessons on average. Children in the lower grade of pre-school take 1.5 lessons and for 2nd graders take 2.3 lessons.

Objectives determine lesson choice
There were clearly different reasons for starting after-school lessons. Children go to swimming schools to keep fit, to music classes to develop sensitivity and skills, to English conversation classes for future use. They take home correspondence education courses because their friends are doing so. Their choice is made in a casual manner. The opportunity for both parents and children to make friends was a reason common to all lesson choices.

PICKUP DATA 9 Relationships with friends are important to mothers. Socializing with friends is important to housewives, while full-time working mothers stress job achievement (Table 9).

Table9
Important activities X working status

(%)
  Housewife Part-time worker Full-time worker
Socializing with friends 59.5 58.3 45.4
Disciplining children 58.1 52.3 48.6
Health 51.6 52.6 54.6
Raising children 56.9 40.0 43.1
Cooking and housework 46.0 39.0 35.5
Children's education 39.1 42.7 31.7
PTA, Parents' association 30.9 39.5 24.9
Family budget and saving 26.7 35.6 33.5
Hobbies 20.7 18.5 14.6
Cooperatives 21.1 16.9 11.0
Job performance and achievement 0.6 31.6 58.4
Relationships at work 0.2 14.5 31.2
Housewives think socializing is important; full-time working mothers give priority to job achievement.
In daily life, housewives focus on (1) socializing with their friends, (2) disciplining children, and (3) raising children. PTA and Parents' Association activities were ranked seventh and participation in cooperatives was ranked ninth. Most activities took place in the neighborhood with friends.

On the other hand, full-time working mothers are concerned with job performance and achievement, followed by health and disciplining children, ranked second and third respectively. Relationships in the workplace were ranked ninth, but this was not among the top ten concerns of housewives and part-time working mothers.

Part-time working mothers are involved in a variety of activities
As shown in the table, part-time working mothers showed tendencies similar to full-time working mothers and housewives. However, part-timers are the most actively involved in their children's education, PTA and Parents' Association activities, and family budgeting and savings. Part-timers want to be good housewives, good mothers, and help with family finances. This motivates them to work part-time. They are also active in hobbies and sports.

PICKUP DATA 10 Major concerns range from daily discipline to personal development.

The following typical answers indicate mother's concerns.

Mothers reproach themselves for scolding their children
There is a book to tell you how to praise your children to enhance their ability. It does not work well, however, because mothers have emotions, too. Many of my friends are also worried about how to scold their children. Although I want to be a good mother, I hate myself when I scold my children in a way that is not good for them. (33 year-old mother of a boy in the middle grade of pre-school, oldest child)

Peer relationships are difficult for both mothers and children
When parents are not good at getting along well with others, children also find it difficult to make friends. When parents don't get along well with each other, children find it difficult to make good friends. (32 year-old mother of a boy in the second grade, third child)

Worried about bullying
I hear that bullying starts with a very small incident, and it starts from an early age. I am worried that bully will affect my children. I want them to be mentally tough enough to overcome it... (39 year-old mother of a boy in the second grade, the third child)

Children are busy
There are fewer children in a family nowadays. I wonder if children will be able to enjoy life if they spend so much time studying from early childhood. But, if they don't, study, they won't get ahead. (29 year-old mother of a boy in the lower pre-school grade, second child)

Worried about raising children
The environment for children is getting worse every year. There is air pollution such as dioxin and the ozone layer is being destroyed. I am also concerned about safety of agricultural products and fresh food. (34 year-old mother of a girl in the upper pre-school grade, third child)

Personal development while raising children
While raising three children, I feel as if I have forgotten about myself. Although I want to start something new, I do not know what I want to do. (33 year-old mother of a girl in the first grade, second child)

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