With half-term fast approaching, although the kids might be excited to have some time off, 1 in 5 parents find the break stressful due to the associated costs – both for childcare and keeping the kids entertained. According to the latest research from Equifax, parents pay on average £144 for childcare during half-term and £179 on keeping their children entertained. This brings the average total to £323 for the week, over £60 per day.
The holiday appears to be taking its toll on parents in Scotland the most, with 32% saying they are stressed out about the cost, followed by 29% in the South West and 23% in the South East.
When it comes to the amount of money that parents are having to pay for childcare during the half-term, it is parents in the North East who are top of the spending chart. Almost quarter in the region spend up to £150 and 19% spend up to £200 for the week.
The cost of keeping the kids entertained also comes at a price, and again the parents in the North East are one of the biggest spenders with 18% having to pay out up to £200. Parents in the North West are also having to dig deep, with nearly a quarter of the region spending up to £150.
“The cost of half-term is clearly taking its toll on parents, with an overwhelming 62% saying that the cost of school holidays is increasing year on year,” said Lisa Hardstaff, Equifax credit information expert. “It is only the first half term of the academic year and in previous research we found that parents had to find an additional £300 to kit their child out at the start of new academic year. It is interesting to see just how quickly the costs can add up.”
The research also highlights that aside from the direct financial pressures facing families during the half-term break, almost one in three (29.57%) feel that their child misses out on activities during half term due to the cost, and 15% of parents say that their child is envious of other children during half term because others can afford to do more activities than they can.
Commenting on the research, Michael Mercieca Chief Executive of Young Enterprise, said, “Not only is it important for parents to ensure they are prepared for the financial side of the half-term break, but they must help their children to understand the value of money. By becoming fully aware of the financial difficulties that some families can face, young people will learn to appreciate what their parents can offer which will put less pressure on them during the school holidays.”
“The costs of school holidays, coupled with back to school costs can really add up, which is why we encourage families to try to set aside savings over the year to help them cope with these expenses,” concludes Lisa Hardstaff. “By factoring in all additional costs, parents can ensure their kids get the most out of their breaks.”