NEW YORK — Summer is eagerly anticipated all year long by children dreaming of escaping the boredom and responsibility of school, but what about their parents? While summer may feel like one big vacation for most kids, a new survey suggests that most parents are more stressed than ever during the summer months.
The survey of 2,000 parents, funded by Groupon, asked how they plan for (and cope with) their children’s schedules being wide open for three straight months. Researchers found that it takes less than two weeks for most moms and dads to start feeling stressed out. On average, parents wish their kids were back in school after just 13 days of summer vacation.
Most of this stress is associated with finding ways to keep their children entertained and occupied, with 58% of parents saying they feel enormous pressure to make sure the little ones have something to do all summer long. To make matters worse, three out of five parents say they are worried that their summer plans won’t live up their kids’ expectations.
Many parents seem to be comparing themselves to other families as well: 64% admit they have felt like they let their kids down because they weren’t able to provide them with the same experiences or trips that their children’s friends may have enjoyed over the summer.
According to the survey, the top source of guilt for parents during the summer is when their kids end up staying indoors instead of going outside or traveling. Getting children outside is easier said than done, though, especially when kids play an average of nine full days worth of video games each summer. Among surveyed parents, the most effective way to get their kids off the couch was to bring them to a water or amusement park.
No matter how parents choose to fill their children’s summer days, the survey indicates that what really matters most to parents is spending quality time with their kids.
“Parents love spending time with their kids, but it’s totally normal to experience some stress and anxiety when planning all the fun that you’re going to have together this summer,” says Brian Fields, a Groupon executive, in a statement.
Summertime also means added stress on parents’ bank accounts as well. On average, parents will spend $7,333.80 on making sure their kids are entertained each summer. With these numbers in mind, it’s no surprise that come August or September, 75% of parents say they are ready for their kids to return to school.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.