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73% of parents wish for a shorter summer break

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Parents would prefer the school holidays to last four weeks instead of six, research has revealed. A study carried out among 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% of those who were polled said they would ideally like a shorter break if it were possible.

The research, which was commissioned by the leading mutual healthcare provider benenden health, 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.

The average mum or dad will also cope with 48 cries of “I’m bored”, 24 tantrums, four hours in stationary traffic – and just three lie-ins.

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 admit to getting tired just two weeks into the holidays, while 78% 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% 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% felt that the government should apply legislation to cut the holidays from six weeks to four.

During the typical 6 week holiday, the average family will also get through 24 ice creams and take 30 family snaps, while enduring 12 drinks spilt in the car and seven cries of ‘are we there yet?’.

Parents will buy some quiet time by putting on 24 DVDs whilst also enjoying two drinks outdoors over the six weeks.

But the average dad will still have to threaten to turn the car around at least twice in the average summer.

Parents will also be forced to stave off 48 cries of ‘I’m bored!’ from the children over the course of the four weeks.

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.”


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 confiscated 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
Lie-ins for mum and dad 3
Walks just mum and dad 3


1. Because I said so
2. You’re pushing your luck
3. Money doesn’t grow on trees
4. I’ve told you a thousand times
5. You and I are going to fall out
6. I want never gets
7. What did your last slave die of?
8. Wait until dad gets home
9. I’ll turn this car around
10. Ask your mum