IF you’re struggling to find a present for a mother with school-age kids this year, don’t play it safe with a box of chocolates: get her an App Store or Google Play gift card, because chances are she’ll need it to buy access to the next level of Candy Crush Saga.

According to research from game network WildTangent, 80% of smartphone- or tablet-owning mothers are now gaming at least once a week and, if she’s an expectant mother waiting for that due date to arrive, chances are she’s playing multiple times every day — 68% of pregnant women admitted to doing so.

Gaming also helps fill time — 76% of mothers with very young children play games while their kids nap during the day — and is a great way of mitigating stress and boredom.

Nearly half of those surveyed (47%) admitted to playing a smartphone or tablet game while watching the TV, while 55% of mothers with toddlers said that gaming was a good way to relax.

The survey, conducted online, polled 1,000 woman either expecting a child or with children of differing ages (from infant to toddler to late teen), also finds that game playing drops off when women have to take care of very young children.

It picks up again when the kids become less dependent.

Women with children aged between five and 17 were the most likely to play games regularly.

And as for the favourite type of game, of those surveyed, 77% said they play matching puzzle games.

Although the findings come from a small sample and therefore should not be taken too seriously, the phenomenon of the committed female smartphone gamer is very real.

Flurry Analytics, which has access to millions of smartphones via its apps advertising and analytics platform, recently found that women spend the most time and money on mobile games and show the greatest loyalty to a title.

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