Cost of entertaining children on school holidays soars

The cost of entertaining children during the school holidays has risen by a quarter over the last five years, according to a report from the Post Office.

The cost of activities has soared. Picture: Ian Georgeson.

The average cost of activities such as going to theme parks and eating out has risen to £624, while two out of three parents worry about covering the costs of summer and one in five will dip into their existing savings.

Entrance to attractions, such as theme parks, tops the list of expenses this year, accounting for 42 per cent of the expenditure budget, followed by eating out, treats such as sweets and ice cream and holidays abroad. In addition to these activities, parents will also be faced with necessary expenses, spending an additional £137 on fuel, £108 on childcare and £73 treating their children’s friends – potentially pushing the total summer spend to £942.

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Parents surveyed said they are planning ahead to ensure they are prepared for the summer costs, with half saving for more than one month, and one in eight putting money away over the past six months. More than half of parents putting money away think they have saved enough for the summer; having stashed a summer pot of £251. However, to cover the full costs associated with the summer holidays, parents should expect to spend a further £373.

An increased number of parents are worried about covering these costs, with many admitting that they expect to cover these costs by dipping into savings, using a credit card and working overtime. One in ten will rely on a loan from family, friends or the bank.

Parents who have taken out credit or a loan will take an average of three months to repay. 
Meanwhile, over a third of parents admitted to spending more than they expected in 2018. As a result, one in five have saved more for the holidays this year than last 

Chrysanthy Pispinis, director of Post Office Money, said: “It’s no surprise parents feel the pressure mounting as the school holidays get nearer, particularly as our research shows that parents have only saved 40 per cent of the costs they can expect to incur entertaining their children.

“The cost of summer has continued to rise over the last couple of years, with a growing number of parents concerned about where they’ll find the money to cover these costs.”