Money woes, where to eat and what film to watch are the subjects most likely to ignite summer holiday squabbles among British families, it has emerged.
A study revealed the balancing act parents face when trying to keep the kids amused during the six-week summer break.
Research of 2,000 mums and dads with children aged four to 12 in full-time education said worries about the financial impact of entertainment the children is most likely to cause a bust-up.
Parents predict they will spend £542 between now and the start of September ensuring the kids have things to do.
Overall 77 per cent admitted they feel pressure to keep their children entertained over the summer.
As a result, the average British family will have 18 tiffs in total during the six-week break
Julie Daniels, head of partnerships at leading comparison website comparethemarket.com, which commissioned the research said, “With the summer holidays just underway, families could already be finding it difficult to all agree on activities or decide on days out to keep the whole household happy, causing tensions to mount.”
The study also found one in seven families regularly find themselves at loggerheads deciding where to eat out, and one in 10 believe choosing a film to watch is the catalyst to quarrel.
One in 10 blame the summer heat for putting family tensions at boiling point.
And one in five parents also confess that the summer break is the time of year they’re most likely to bicker with their kids.
Most notably at 13.08pm – the summertime squabbling ‘witching hour’ which has been pinpointed by British parents, the OnePoll study found.
The Radfords, Britain’s biggest family, are proud parents to 21 children. They know all too well the woes of trying to keep all the kids busy over the summer.
Mum Sue Radford said: “Everything gets twice as busy in the school holidays but we still want to have lots of fun as a family and do as much as we can together.
”We’re always looking for new ways to entertain the kids and agreeing on something can be very tricky.
”When we were asked by comparethemarket.com to try out the new ‘Meerkat Mediator’, we couldn’t wait to check out the meal and cinema options that cater for everyone.
”Anything that keeps the entire family happy is a winner in our house.”
Dr. Sam Wass, child psychologist from Channel 4’s The Secret Life of 4- and 5-Year-Olds, says: “Although most children look forward to the summer holidays, they can also be a tough time for many families.
“Long periods of unstructured time can lead to lots of disagreements! Many parents worry about the mounting costs that come with entertaining their children, with almost a quarter citing it as a cause of squabbles.”
Julie Daniels added: “Planning lots together as a family is a great way to reconnect, that’s why this summer, the ‘Meercat Mediator’ could help alleviate family financial friction and pressure points by tapping into the wealth of meal and cinema options, available via the Meerkat App.”
The ‘Meerkat Mediator’ a voice assistant prototype which aims to help everyone agree on what to eat and what to watch at the cinema.
It taps into the wealth of Meerkat Movies and Meerkat Meals options available via the Meerkat app to help families spend more quality time together.
To learn more about the Meerkat Mediator, visit https://bit.ly/2JAjwRH
TOP SUMMER HOLIDAY SQUABBLES
1. How much everything is costing
2. A family member making too much mess in the home
3. A family member’s irritating behaviour
4. Indecision about what to do for a day out
5. Not being able to agree as a family what to do together
6. What to eat
7. A family member being lazy / avoiding responsibility
8. Feeling tetchy because of the heat
9. Just irrational temper issues
10. Where to eat
11. What movie to watch
12. Insensitive behaviour
13. Deciding who does which chores
14. Not being able to agree as a family what movie to watch
15. Not being able to agree as a family where to eat
SAM’S TOP TIPS FOR KEEPING THE HOUSEHOLD HAPPY OVER THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS
• Keep a routine – it’s important not to let bedtimes go out the window during the holidays, especially for younger children. Children need routines, and sleep is key for keeping the whole family happy. Keeping to regular timings will help ensure that everyone in the family is in a good mood – keeping squabbles to a minimum.
• Having fun doesn’t need to break the bank – For parents, it might feel as if the more you spend, the more fun the kids will have – but this isn’t always the case! Using vouchers, discounts and signing up to rewards programmes could be the perfect solution for affordable entertainment.
• Ask for help – setting up playdates with other parents across a few households is good for everyone – a day of looking after your neighbours’ children in exchange for them taking yours tomorrow is a great way to share the load and keep the children occupied.