Children’s summer ‘guilt gifts’

Some 82 per cent of parents expect to lavish their children with “guilt gifts” of treats and activities to make up for a shortage of family time, online marketplace Groupon found.

On average, they expect to spend £187.40 more a week, per child, then they normally would, the survey of parents with children aged five to 16 found.

This could add up to an additional £1,124 over a six-week period.

Sweet treats, dining out on burgers and pizzas and trips to the cinema are among the most popular expenses, the research found, with some parents also buying their children gadgets and video games.

Dads are more likely than mums to splash the cash to assuage feelings of guilt, the research suggests, with 86 percent of fathers forking out for presents compared with 78 percent of mothers.

And in an effort to spend more time with the family, nearly two-fifths (38%) of parents surveyed admitted to having pulled a sickie over the summer holidays so that they can spend the day with the kids instead.

Two-fifths of parents say what they see on other parents' social media feeds makes them feel pressured to deliver a perfect summer holiday for their own family.

More than a third of parents worry about the length of time their children spend indoors during the holidays while a third fret about not being able to afford many days out.

Nearly three quarters of parents worry that their children's summer break will not live up to their expectations, and more than a quarter start to worry more than three months before the summer holidays have even begun.

Jon Wilson, the managing director at Groupon, said: “There is an immense amount of pressure for parents to keep their kids entertained during the summer and time is precious, so they have to make the most of the days they have with their children.“

Groupon is launching a campaign under the hashtag “summer unfiltered”, encouraging parents to show the realities of the holidays to help relieve the pressure created by social media.

It will be asking parents to share stories online for the chance to win a holiday, with further details to be put on its UK Facebook page.

More than 2,000 parents across the UK were surveyed.

Here are the top 10 reasons parents feel guilty over the summer, according to Groupon's survey:

1. Staying in the house rather than getting out and about.

2. Not being able to afford lots of day trips and activities.

3. Letting the children spend hours in front of the TV or computer.

4. Running out of options to keep the kids entertained.

5. Not being able to afford to go on a holiday abroad.

6. Feeling that their children's friends are having a better time than they are.

7. Saying no to requests for sweets, toys and trips out.

8. Lack of routine.

9. Late bedtimes.

10. Not organising more educational and cultural events.

Mike PalmerComment