Parents will buy children summer ‘guilt gifts’

Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
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Four in five pressured parents plan to fork out extra money on their children over the summer holidays to compensate for the lack of time they are able to spend with them, a survey has found.

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, according to online marketplace Groupon.

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.

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

And in an effort to spend more time with the family, nearly two-fifths (38 per cent) of parents surveyed admitted to having called in sick over the summer holidays so that they can spend the day with the children instead.

Two-fifths (42 per cent) 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 (35 per cent) of parents worry about the length of time their children spend indoors during the holidays while 32 per cent fret about not being able to afford many days out.

Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of parents worry that their children’s summer break will not live up to their expectations, and more than a quarter (26 per cent) start to worry more than three months before the summer holidays have even begun.

Jon Wilson, 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.