Parents Giving Children Piggybacks As They Walk Along Winter Beach Together

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NEW YORK — The average parent only gets 17 minutes of relaxation a day while on a family vacation with their kids, a new study finds. In fact, one in five get 15 minutes or less and one in 10 parents have less than five minutes to unwind.

A recent survey of 2,000 parents of children under 14 discovered that although 57 percent of parents consider themselves strict, they are also more than willing to toss the rulebook during a family vacation.

Family vacation mindset

Family VacationMore than half of parents make “rule concessions” on a beach vacation that they don’t do during their normal routines. Eight in 10 say they’re more lenient when driving to their destination. That’s good news for kids, as more than nine in 10 parents planned to travel by car for vacation this past summer.

More than three-quarters of parents also agree that summer is the best time to take a family road trip. Kids who want to stay up late on vacation are in luck — nearly seven in 10 parents are a lot more open to it while on a trip, while 57 percent allow youngsters to eat junk food and 49 percent let their kids play with electronics more.

More than seven in 10 parents also say as long as their child is learning something of value, they’re OK with them spending extra time playing on electronic devices.

Conducted by OnePoll in partnership with Duracell, the study also looked at the essentials of a memorable family vacation. Respondents are ready to “say cheese” and get their cameras out — 71 percent say their favorite family vacation activity is taking photos, more than going out to eat (66%) and even sightseeing (51%).

Keeping their kids fed and entertained is a top priority, too. The average parent packs more snacks (eight) and batteries (six) than pairs of socks (five) when hitting the road during the summer. Parents usually pack reusable water bottles (79%), portable electronic devices (79%), snacks (85%), and books (58%) for their kids for use while traveling on vacation.

Don’t forget the toaster…

Family VacationWhen preparing for a road trip, nearly eight in 10 parents often feel like their family packs their entire house to bring with them. The survey also polled kids between six and 14 and found they’re just as particular about packing. More than two in three (69%) insist their parents include snacks and candy. Almost as many (68%) request their parents pack portable gaming consoles or tablets.

In fact, two-thirds of kids say watching TV or movies is their favorite nighttime activity, playing video games (57%) following closely behind.

Nearly three-quarters of parents let their kids stay up for two or more hours past their normal bedtime for nighttime activities during a family vacation. Two in five parents note that before they became a parent, they thought they would never let their kids play with portable devices, but now it happens all the time.

Gone are the days of kids asking their parents to read their favorite book — only one in three kids named this as a favorite nighttime vacation activity. Kids were also just as likely to say their favorite parts of a family vacation include bonding with parents/siblings (53%) as playing games (53%) and taking pictures (51%).

While many families are forgoing long-distance trips, parents agree these can have a positive impact on children, with 55 percent saying they inspire their kids to ask more questions and 52 percent agreeing their kids become more curious about different cultures.

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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