Parents stressed out by half-term as extra costs hit £323

Half term can be costly
Half term can be costly

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A fifth of parents have admitted that they find the half-term break stressful, with the additional costs the holiday brings being the source of much of the worry.

With the week off fast approaching in England and Wales and already a distant memory for some in Scotland, new research has found that parents spend an average of £144 on childcare and £179 on keeping youngsters entertained during the break.

That amounts to £323 a week - or more than £60 per day.

The holiday appears to be taking its toll on parents in Scotland the most, with 32 per cent saying they are stressed out about the cost, followed by 29 per cent of parents in the South West and 23 per cent 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 a quarter in the region spend up to £150 and 19 per cent spend up to £200 for the week.

The cost of keeping the kids entertained also comes at a price and, again, parents in the North East are some of the biggest spenders with 18 per cent having to pay out up to £200.

“The cost of half-term is clearly taking its toll on parents, with an overwhelming 62 per cent saying that the cost of school holidays is increasing year on year,” said Lisa Hardstaff, credit information expert at Equifax, which commissioned the survey.

“It is only the first half-term of the academic year, yet it is interesting to see just how quickly the costs can add up. 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.”

The research also highlights that aside from the direct financial pressures facing families over the break, almost one in three (29.57 per cent) feel that their child misses out on activities during half-term due to the cost. And 15 per cent 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.”