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Research reveals true cost of school holidays for parents across the UK

31st July 2013 

Parents would prefer the school holidays to last four weeks instead of six, research has revealed. A study commissioned by the leading mutual healthcare provider Benenden Health on 2,000 parents found most find the tail end of the summer break a slog after weeks of entertaining the children at home.

As many as 73 per cent of those who were polled said they would ideally like a shorter break if it were possible. The research also found the average summer break costs nearly £1,400 in total with travels, theme parks and other days out all taking a hefty toll on the wallet.

Yesterday, Paul Keenan, Head of Communications at Benenden Health said: ''Gone are the traditional images of relaxing school holidays as it's clear from these results that parents are often put under a great deal of strain during the holiday period - both economically and physically.

''The combination of childcare costs, the money spent on holidays and days out - in addition to uniform for the new school year can put a big strain on the finances of families.

''Almost three quarters of parents object to the seasonal increase in holiday prices outside of term-time - making this a clear issue in light of the current economic woes and tightening family budgets.

''The impact is not just financial, however, as parents are also finding that they naturally get less time to themselves over this period and are often worn-out in the first four weeks of the school break.''

A frazzled four in ten parents admit to getting tired just two weeks into the holidays, while 78 per cent said they've usually had enough after a month.

Parents admitted they are usually exhausted four weeks into the school holidays and more than half said they would like to shorten the six week break as the pressure on family budgets takes its toll.

Results showed the summer holidays strains the family budget by setting parents back an extra £113 a week more than normal.

This explains why 74 per cent of parents feel it's unfair that prices skyrocket outside of term time. In fact, British parents feel the ideal length for the school holidays should be reduced and 52 per cent felt that the government should apply legislation to cut the holidays from six weeks to four.

After entertaining round the clock, mum and dad will squeeze in just five hours quality time alone in an average week of the summer holidays.

It's not all doom and gloom though as six in ten parents love a break from having to do the school run, while more than half said no washing school uniforms and making packed lunches was a treat.

Paul Keenan added: ''What these results suggest is that there is a real need for the length of the summer school holidays to be reviewed. The pressures which parents face during this period can have a real impact on their wellbeing, with many getting tired after just two weeks.

''With over half of those surveyed saying they would like the holidays to be shortened from six weeks to four weeks over summer, it seems that this is something which should be looked at more seriously in order to alleviates some of these strains on the mental and physical wellbeing of parents across the UK.''

The Six Week Holidays by Numbers

Kids cry ‘I'm bored'

48

Kids ask ‘Are we there yet?’

7

Threats to turn the car around

2

Telling offs

9

Ice creams eaten by family

24

Films watched by kids

24

Visits to relatives

18

Photos taken

30

Days on a beach

18

Tantrums

24

Late nights

30

Scraped knees or accidents

18

Cases of sunburn

12

Kid’s toys/consoles/ items confiscated by parents

18

Drinks spilt in the car

12

Zoo/theme park visits

2

Takeaways

3

Swimming pool trips

3

Bowling/ ice skating

2

Quiet drink alone for parents

3

Undisturbed lie-ins for mum and dad

3

Walks just mum and dad

3

 

Top 10 Most-Used Phrases over Summer Holidays

Because I said so

You’re pushing your luck

Money doesn’t grow on trees

I’ve told you a thousand times

You and I are going to fall out

I want never gets

What did your last slave die of?

Wait until Dad gets home

I’ll turn this car around

Ask your mum

 

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