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The question: Time with your children

Do you spend enough time reading and playing with your children?

Although work and commuting accounts for approximately 50 hours per week I spend 2-4 hours most evenings with the children. And for the last two years my wife and I have taught our daughter at home. I read daily to my daughter such books as the Swallows & Amazons series, Famous Five stories, James Herriot books and the Hobbit. The last book my son and I read together was Lord of the Rings. How do we find time to do these things?

We have no television or computer games in the house!

Roger Hocking, 47, process leader, Totnes

Today's work and lifestyles are incredibly challenging for the family unit. My wife works full time and so there is the juggling of the school run and the need for home working when there are problems with illness, closed schools etc. My children are just about beyond the bedtime story, but there is still a need to talk, find out how school went, has the homework been done etc. Trying to fit this around the Simpsons is also a challenge! We think we are doing OK, but the proof is in later years - we will have to wait and see.

Graham Newson (43), senior consultant, Epsom

This subject is very close to my heart. Both myself and my wife work. Our child goes to a nursery school during the day which finishes at 6:00 pm. My wife is a deputy head at a large comprehensive and apart from being the main wage earner (by miles) she is often required to attend meetings after school. We must organise ourselves with military precision to ensure our son is collected. For me this represents the most stressful part of my job. I find the thought of my son languishing in a nursery at 5:45pm awful. I now get up at 05:45 and get to work by 7:15 to do the extra hours so I can be home at a reasonable time.

Tom Brown, 34, senior engineer and manager, Newcastle

My son Matthew enjoys stories about Thomas the Tank Engine.

These are set on an island where train crashes, derailments, cancellations, floods, landslides and adverse weather conditions are all commonplace. Perhaps I should just read him the newspapers.

Steve Lister, 35, engineer, Barnsley I am a strong believer in starting and finishing work early. I am happiest working 7.30-4pm. I would encourage my colleagues, parents or not, to do the same. By finishing early I get to play more golf after work: when I do have kids I will spend time with them after school and still get time to play nine holes in summer.

Nigel Clifford, 32, civil engineer, Manchester.

I have three grown up daughters but when they were little I shared their upbringing with my wife. When they were babies I did my share of bathing and putting to bed when I got home from work. I feel that I have equally strong bonds with my children and now they are all adults the phone is always buzzing for chats or help with cars or DIY, or the odd loan! ! !

Peter Wadsworth, director, West Sussex

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