School’s Out (For the Summer)!

As school starts winding down and the weather starts heating up, parents are reminded of the few months ahead when their children are out of school. It’s safe to assume that kids are excited to take time off from schoolwork, but what about mothers?

Aside from being an educational institution, school is also considered a form of childcare for many parents. It provides a safe environment in which children are stimulated, educated, socialized, entertained, and fed for a good portion of the day. So what are moms’ opinions on the months when school’s out and kids are home full-time? The Research Moms have the answer and it might surprise you.

When asked to categorize their feelings about summer vacation, more than two-thirds (69%) of moms of school-age children (Kindergarten through 12th grade) said they really liked having their children out of school all summer. Surprisingly, this sentiment is pretty consistent among different types of moms, with 70% of working mothers and 68% of stay-at-home mothers choosing this response as well.

Only 3% disliked summer vacation and the stress it brings regarding childcare options and activities for children to do. The remaining 28% fell somewhere in the middle with liking it in the beginning but ready for school to start again halfway through summer.

Summers Out

You may be tilting your head and thinking, “Huh?” at this data but let’s think a little harder at what summer vacation might mean for moms. Sure, they’re losing 7-8 hours of “free” time a day, but consider some of the pluses:

  • No more homework – This is a relief not just for kids, but for parents too, who help their children with their homework. According to a 2015 survey from Education.com, 80% of parents reported spending more time helping their kids with homework than their parents spent with them.
  • Less rushing – Getting children up, dressed, out the door, and on the bus on-time are no easy feats so it’s no wonder moms enjoy having summers off. While summer camps run on a similar schedule, parents are not checking for homework or school projects.
  • Fewer dance, soccer, cheerleading, baseball, piano, (insert other extracurricular activity here) classes – Throw extracurricular activities into the mix and the school year is even busier, with the U.S. Census Bureau reporting that 57% of children between 6 and 17 years old are involved with a least one after-school activity. And since parents are most likely coordinating these schedules and figuring out transportation to and from these activities, they probably enjoy a respite from some, if not all, the chaos.
  • More fun – The days are longer, the weather is nicer, and the ice cream man rings nightly. Despite the occasional groans of boredom, kids are happy to be out of school and are probably not complaining as often. Happiness is contagious and it’s likely that mom catches some of the joy as well.

So while a famous Christmas carol observes that “Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again,” it seems that summertime is a completely different season.

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