While most kids wish summer break was longer, it turns out parents wish it was much shorter.
In fact, a new survey reveals that 75 percent of parents would prefer if summer break was limited to only two weeks, similar to spring or winter break. This is less than a quarter of what the average summer break in most U.S. states is now.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll for Groupon last summer. 58 percent of the 2,000 parents interviewed admitted they felt stressed out over how they would keep their kids busy and entertained during the summer months.
Even more, 75 percent of parents said they feel more than ready for their kids to go back to school when summer ends.
But perhaps the most startling statistic was that 75 percent of parents also said they would be okay with their kids returning to school after only a 13-day break. This is in stark contrast to the typical two or even three months that elementary and high school students get off.
“The parents we interviewed said they’ve found the most success by not overthinking the situation and turning to affordable activities in their local community,” Brian Fields, an employee of Groupon, said of the findings.
However, even if parents would feel less stressed out with a shorter summer break, it could negatively impact the kids. Research has found that a summer break, albeit a productive one, is necessary for kids and teens in order to de-stress from the school year. Just like burnout is a very real thing in adults, it can happen in kids, too.
Some of the benefits of school breaks for children include down-time to rest and recharge. It gives them an opportunity to spend more time with family and friends.
Even more, a school break offers them the time and freedom to pursue other interests and explore new things. Some children learn best from hands-on experiences, so summer can be a crucial time for them to develop personally and intellectually.
With that being said, there are drawbacks to long summer breaks. Most well-known is summer learning loss- kids are less likely to remember what they’ve learned when they months out of the classroom. Just like you get rusty if you don’t play a musical instrument for a long period of time, the mind gets rusty when it isn’t learning on a consistent basis.
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Some experts controversially advocate for year-round schooling with smaller yet more frequent breaks. Others emphasize the necessity of summer breaks as well as the parental responsibility to keep kids active and engaged, which is likely the reason parents become so stressed out about summers in the first place.
Clearly, there’s no one right way to plan your child’s summer, and contrary to what those surveyed parents seem to want, summer break is likely to remain at least four weeks (at least for now).
But what is clear is that summer break should be a time of self-care, not just for kids who need to recharge from school, but also for parents who find things get a bit more hectic when it gets hotter out. Make sure you remember to take care of yourselves, too, moms and dads!