More than half of British parents (53%) say that their strongest feeling at back to school time is relief (21%), excitement (17%) or happiness (15%), while three quarters (76%) of all parents with children aged 5 to 16 in Britain say they couldn’t wait for their kids to head back to school at the end of the summer holidays, our poll for AOL parenting website Parentdish has found.
- More than half of all parents with school aged children (53%) are either happy, excited or relieved at back to school time - which, for many parents and their children in Britain, was today
- 43% of working parents think the school summer holidays are too long
- More than a third of all parents (36%) plan to use the opportunity presented by the new school term to make changes to their lives, with 42% of Mums saying that they would take the chance to improve their lifestyles
- Over two fifths (42%) of all parents who have ever taken time off work over the holidays to look after their children generally feel more pressured to return to work due to the current economic climate
Term-time ‒ for me
Many parents admit that back-to-school time means rediscovering some much-deserved time for themselves. When asked what they most looked forward to doing more of following the start of the new term, the most popular response among parents was exercise (13%), while working more and spending more time with their partner were the equal second choices, with 9% each. It’s men who seem to be feeling more neglected by their partners though, with over three times as many men (14%) than women (4%) saying they were looking forward to spending more time with their spouse.
However, during the summer holidays it’s relaxation time alone that more parents say they give up most, thanks to increased demands of looking after children over the summer. Over a quarter (26%) say time alone is the thing they have to sacrifice the most, followed by work (10%) and time with their partner (9%).
Families and the economy
The stagnant economy and slow recovery are also putting greater pressure on families and parents who feel less able to reduce their work commitments to care for their children.
- More than two fifths (42%) of parents who have ever taken time off work before over the holidays to look after their children said that they felt under more pressure to return to work due to the current economic climate
- Interestingly, over three times as many parents in the north of England (35%) than the south (11%) who have ever taken time off work over the holidays to look after their children, said they felt under much more pressure to return to work for this reason
Additionally, more than one in five women (22%) say they were happier with their careers before having children compared to just 13% of men. While over twice as many (22%) of higher earning parents (those in the ABC1 social group) say they were happier with their careers before having children than those in lower paid jobs (C2DE) (11%).
Tamsin Kelly, Editor of Parentdish.co.uk said: ‘The long summer school holidays can be tough for parents, especially in these harsh economic times, when couples have to take turns taking ‘holidays’ and time off work to look after children. We weren’t surprised that parents were looking forward to life back on an even keel with the beginning of term – but we were shocked to see that as many as three quarters of parents can’t wait for the holidays to end.
The good news is that so many parents seem to have taken stock of their lives during the school holidays and are viewing the new school term as an opportunity to make positive changes to their lives.’