The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Sick of your kids being home for summer? Survey says you’re not alone.


Most kids love summer vacation: They don’t have to get up early to go to school, sit all day in class and then spend time doing homework. But their parents? They may not love it quite as much — or, at least, not for as long.

Research in England found that by Aug. 1, 50 percent of British parents were likely to be sick of having their children at home, the Daily Mail reported. Trying to keep kids engaged in fun activities — and paying for their fun activities — gets old for many parents. Only 6 percent of those surveyed said they were able to fill the entire summer vacation with “exciting activities” — with most running out of ideas three weeks into summer.

Of those surveyed, when asked to pick specific words to describe the summer months with their kids at home, only 34 percent selected “rewarding,” while 31 percent chose “exhausting.”

The research, commissioned by Family and Friends Railcard, surveyed more than 1,500 parents with school-age children. Exactly how the survey was conducted is not mentioned, but the notion that parents who love their children deeply still get unsettled having them home expecting to be entertained all summer doesn’t seem off the mark.

The research found, according to the article “while most parents say they look forward to the summer holidays and spending quality time with the children, around 4 out of 10 describe it as ‘hard work’.”   It can be so hard to plan a steady stream of summer activities that a healthy minority of parents — just under half — said they hadn’t made vacation plans before that vacation actually started.

The article quotes Andrew Robertson, from Family & Friends Railcard as saying:

‘The school holidays are a fantastic time for families to spend quality time together, but all too often, whether through lack of ideas or available funds, parents can be left wondering what to do with the kids to keep them entertained over the summer break. Our latest research shows that this tends to happen very early into the holidays, with the majority of parents running out of things to do to amuse the kids three weeks into the holiday.”

The big question in all of this is why parents think every second of summer needs to be filled with exciting activities for their kids. One of the important things kids need to learn as they grow up is how to entertain themselves and spend time alone without constant stimulation planned by their parents. Keeping kids safe over the summer is one thing.  Feeling responsible for providing them with a fun thing to do every single second is quite another.

In any case, for some kids, the summer vacation is just about officially over. Some public schools in the United States, such as in East Baton Rouge, are opening their doors for the 2015-16 school year on Monday, Aug. 6.