Organised activities, educational activities and family activities: how do they feature in the middle-class family’s weekend?

Sharon Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


In the context of concerns regarding work– life balance, questions have been raised in relation to the weekend and whether it is being ‘lost’. This paper presents new empirical evidence regarding the weekend of the middle-class family, who are the section of the population perhaps most likely to be subject to time pressure yet have the greatest ability and inclination to protect the weekend. The evidence comes from 73 semi-structured interviews with parents and children from 48 middle-class families living in and around a small city in the north-west of England. The data indicate that the middle-class family’s weekend is not being ‘lost’, as the paid work of most parents is undertaken during the traditional Monday to Friday working week, and Saturdays and Sundays are viewed and experienced differently to weekdays. However, the weekend is undergoing significant changes in that middle-class parents do considerably more ‘work’ in relation to their children and families. Children spend a large proportion of the weekend doing homework and organised activities, while their parents assist, transport and supervise them. Also, though ‘purposive’ family activities are limited at the weekend, parents spend a substantial amount of time with their children and doing things for them. Overall, the middle-class family’s weekend today appears to be more child-centred and structured than in previous generations. These changes can be explained by the very different social context in which parents have to parent, as well as the contemporary perception of ‘good’ parenting to which parents are subjected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-232
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number2
Early online date2 Sep 2013
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Sep 2013


  • work–life balance
  • concerted cultivation
  • social class
  • family time
  • grounded theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Organised activities, educational activities and family activities: how do they feature in the middle-class family’s weekend?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this