Kids’ Schedules as Busy as the Average American Workweek

Kids’ Schedules as Busy as the Average American Workweek

Pizza Hut(R) and Family TV Personality Donna Erickson Develop "New School Year Resolutions" to Help Families Share Time Together


Dallas, TX–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–August 24, 2004–As children head back to school, more and more families say they suffer from diminishing family time due to overscheduling and daily demands. In fact, new data from Impulse Research shows that more than 50 percent of parents say they spend fewer than 10 hours a week together as a family and 33 percent of parents say their kids spend between 35-40 hours a week participating in scheduled activities. Meanwhile, 62 percent of parents say they wish they could spend more time with their kids.

Pizza Hut recognizes the time spent as a family is valuable. The company’s research proves that more than 70 percent of pizza eating occasions are shared by families. Therefore, the pizza company that has been gathering families for 46 years, is committed to giving families the tools to make the most of their family time this school year.

Pizza Hut is partnering with Donna Erickson, syndicated columnist, award-winning author of Fabulous Funstuff For Families and host and producer of the award-winning PBS television series Donna’s Day, to give families tools to fix the overscheduling conundrum with five easy New School Year Resolutions.

To avoid creating a jam-packed schedule, Pizza Hut and Erickson suggest setting aside family evenings on the calendar and take advantage of five key family activities that often get overlooked in busy schedules: dinner, schoolwork, exercise, play and relaxation. Families are encouraged to make a conscious decision to spend time dedicated to reconnecting with one another.

Each Monday from Aug. 16 – Sept. 13, busy families can find easy, creative activities with each of Erickson’s New School Year Resolutions at Resolutions and activities include:

1. Eat Dinner Together. Surprise the family by creating a picnic in the living room or serve “international” dinners that incorporate dishes from around the world.

2. Get Involved in the Children’s School Life. Plan a pizza party to meet the children’s friends and parents or practice spelling and writing during daily activities such as writing postcards to relatives.

3. Exercise Together. Take an “ABC Nature Hike” or create a fitness chart of exercises for each family member for the week.

4. Make Play a Part of Every Day. Create a family game show or take “mini tours” of areas in your neighborhood or city.

5. Set Aside Downtime. Create a “Family Faces Storybook” or tell imaginary stories that allow each family member to contribute a sentence.

“Our goal is to find significant ways for families to share time together every day: play games, tell stories and forget cooking – order a pizza – the most popular food for sharing,” said Tom James, chief marketing officer, Pizza Hut. “In fact, our research on the positive effects of sharing meals together as a family actually led to our new tagline, introduced last year, ‘Gather ‘Round the Good Stuff(TM).’ We not only want to bring families dinner, we hope they will carve out time to share together.”

Families today must battle an ever-present reality: families are spending less and less time together. According to an independent survey conducted by Impulse Research for Pizza Hut, 27 percent of parents say they only schedule time with their child once in a while or never. Two in five children ages eight to 18 feel the time they spend with their employed mothers and fathers is rushed.(1) As a result, overscheduling and minimal family time can affect kids in a variety of negative ways including reducing self-esteem, social skills and academic performance to increasing the likeliness to smoke, drink and use drugs.(2)

With enthusiasm and wit, Donna Erickson offers families creative, practical ideas for celebrating the little things in life and creating memories that last forever. A former teacher and mother of three, Erickson has first-hand experience in managing busy back-to-school schedules.

“With school back in session, family time together is more important than ever. Scheduling family time in September is perfect timing for parents to start the school year off right with their children,” said Donna Erickson. “I remind parents they have what it takes to create fun, quality moments with their kids. It’s really the little things that parents do with kids that yield big results. All parents have a skill or hobby to share with their children, which will help them learn more about each other as they play shoulder to shoulder, so to speak. That is when relationships are built and memories are made.”

Families Benefit From Sharing Meal Time Together

Recent research by Columbia University proves that sharing family meals has a positive effect on the character and social development of children(3). Teenagers who eat dinner with their families five times or more a week perform better in school and are less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs than children who do so twice a week or less. And family meal times provide a built-in opportunity to connect with others and practice the art of good conversation. Research from Harvard University suggests that regular conversation during family meal times between adults and children contributes to children’s vocabulary and early literacy skills(4).

A Focus on Family…for 46 Years

Pizza Hut has been committed to families since it opened in 1958. With close to a third of Americans indicating that they feel closer to their family when they eat pizza and nearly a third revealing that pizza is the most fun meal shared as a family(5), Pizza Hut recognizes the importance of giving families the opportunity to share time and make memories together. Pizza Hut continues to develop ways to enrich the lives of the families through BOOK IT!(R), the nation’s largest reading incentive program for grades K-6, and through Erickson’s family activity tools on

About Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut Inc., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), is the world’s largest pizza restaurant company with almost 6,600 units in the United States and more than 4,000 units in 100 other countries. The company is the recognized leader in the $37 billion pizza category. Those hungry for more information can go to the official Pizza Hut web site at

About Donna Erickson

Donna Erickson is a nationally recognized award-winning parenting expert, author, syndicated columnist, television host and producer who specializes in creating activities that make parenting fun. Donna has written numerous books, including the newly launched Fabulous Funstuff for Families, the award-winning Prime Time Together…with Kids, and More Prime Time Activities with Kids. She is the host and executive producer of PBS’ Donna’s Day, a Jim Henson production committed to strengthening family ties, creating traditions and building self-esteem through fun and easy projects and recipes. As a syndicated columnist for King Features Syndicate and a contributing editor for Parents magazine, Donna shares imaginative ways to create fun family memories. She is a supporting character on the new PBS children’s series, Jay Jay the Jetplane, and a frequent guest on national television shows including Today, CNN, Oprah and numerous programs on HGTV and the Discovery Channel.

(1) Galinsky, Ellen. Ask the Children: What America’s Children Really Think About Working Parents. 2000 December.

(2) The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. The Importance of Family Dinners. 2003 September.

(3) Ibid.

(4) Gillman MW, et. al. Harvard University. Family dinner and diet quality among older children and adolescents. Archives of Family Medicine 2000 March.

(5) Independent survey conducted of more than 500 U.S. households by International Consumer Research for Pizza Hut, December 2003.



Pizza Hut

Julie Hildebrand or Patty Sullivan


Kids’ Schedules as Busy as the Average American Workweek