Parents ‘dread summer holidays’
Two in five parents in the UK dread the start of the school summer holidays amid concerns about boredom and childcare, a poll conducted two weeks ago suggests.
It reveals that many parents believe the break is too long, with nearly half looking forward to their youngsters going back to school.
The survey, which questioned around 2,000 working parents, found that 40 per cent dread their children breaking up for the summer.
Of these, more than a third (35 per cent) said they had not organised childcare for the whole holiday, while nearly half (48 per cent) were not looking forward to juggling work with looking after their children.
There were also concerns about mounting workloads, messy houses, bad weather preventing youngsters from playing outside, the extra costs, busy attractions and keeping children entertained.
Just over two in five (42 per cent) of the parents questioned for the Hobbycraft poll said that they think the summer holidays are too long.
And almost half of parents (47 per cent) say they find it hard to find ways of keeping children busy for the whole break. More than half (54 per cent) said they will be taking their youngsters on holiday, while a similar proportion (52 per cent) will let them play outside.
Around two in five were planning on going to the cinema, zoo or other attractions, arranging play dates or taking their children swimming or to play sport.
But almost half (48 per cent) said there comes a point in the holidays when they have had enough and begin looking forward to the start of the new school year.
On average, parents begin looking forward to youngsters going back to school around three weeks and three days into the summer holidays, the poll suggests.
The survey also reveals the extra costs of childcare during the summer break.
On average, it claims that parents spend an extra £270 (€344) over the six-week school summer holidays in the UK.
Hobbycraft chief executive Catriona Marshall said: “For most children, the summer holidays are the best part of the year, six weeks without school or homework.
“For parents, grandparents and childminders it can be a challenge to keep them occupied, especially in rainy weather.”
Just a third of English local authorities are meeting their duty to provide enough childcare for working parents, according to separate research published by the Daycare Trust last Thursday.
And more than half of councils have had their holiday childcare budgets cut.
The trust’s 2012 holiday childcare costs survey found that, on average, families with two children will pay out £1,200 (€1,530) during the school holidays for childcare.
The average cost of one week of full-time holiday care is £99.87 (€128), the survey found, up three per cent on last year.
Anand Shukla, chief executive of Daycare Trust, said: “This year’s survey illustrates the lottery parents face when it comes to not only finding but paying for childcare during the long school holidays.
“The price of holiday childcare varied by as much as £20 (€25) a week between neighbouring regions,” she added.