For parents, it's hard to find the time to play with their kids.

Our July trend trend report, “Play As a Competitive Advantage,” argues that in today’s tightly structured, goal-oriented world, we’ll be seeking to focus a little less on productivity and more on spontaneous play. For parents in particular, play is an inevitable part of child rearing, although it’s even harder to find the time for purposeless activity, as our research confirmed. (For this survey, we polled 1,006 adults in the U.S. and the U.K. using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool.)

Not surprisingly, parents have significantly less time to play than people without kids (5.5 hours vs. 8.1 hours on a typical weekend). As many as 4 in 10 parents say they simply don’t have time to play with their kids, and for about 6 in 10, playtime feels like a responsibility. But parenthood can also spur a return to carefree play, and kids’ creativity can inspire adults in their play. Moms are a little more likely to enjoy playing with their kids and to find their child play inspiring, although they also have a harder time tuning out everyday worries while playing. As people seek some escape from their always-on lives, marketers can position family playtime as a way to balance the scales and reintroduce carefree fun.