Opinion & Debate

Published on February 13th, 2015 | by Kelly Rose Bradford

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Half term – since when has it been up there with the main summer hols in the spendy stakes?

When did half term suddenly become such a big deal?

My memories of the winter and autumn school breaks consist of no more than a week of lie-ins, watching re-runs of The Monkees on TV, and listening, from the sanctity of my duvet, to my mum doing the housework. The week largely spent doing nothing, or getting dragged along on whatever chores and errands mum had to run. And I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. That was whole point of a week of no school; there was nothing to do but laze and read and watch TV, with occasional forays to the park, weather permitting.

How things have changed.

My son breaks up from school today and most of his mates seem to be going away. And by ‘away’ I mean properly away – not going to stay with their nan for the week, or spending a joyless five days listening to rain bounce off a static caravan in a muddy field in Devon. I’m talking Dubai, New York and Morocco type away.

And even those who are not jetting off (the ones who have only just come back from skiing, mainly) all seem to have a full on week planned. It would appear we are the only family looking forward to doing nothing more than not having to get up at 6.30 every morning or spend hours every night doing homework.

But I’m trying to work out when half term become such an event and why we as parents have allowed it to become this way.  Why are the three half term breaks now up there with the main summer recess in terms of indulgence and spending?

Every attraction, holiday company and kid friendly restaurant are currently pushing their ‘half term’ deals and offers, and the expectation seems to totally be that if parents are not treating their kids to a sunshine break, then they have to instead splash the cash on five day’s worth of different activities and trips instead.

To put this crazy spending into perspective, vouchercodes.co.uk reckon this half term will set the average family back £252 in activities, which one in four parents will rely on their credit card to pay for, with one in five turning to their overdraft. Unsurprisingly, more than half of the 2000 parents questioned by the company (60 per cent) said they are worried about how they are going to afford the week.

Really? Well by getting a grip would be my first suggestion.

Honestly, shouldn’t half term just be about low pressure chilling, late nights, no alarm clocks, and a break from the monotony of the school routine? For both parent and child.

What it should not be is a week long boot camp of frantic money spending, road trips, forced-fun days out in the rain, and the peddling of the notion that kids can only be entertained or enjoying themselves if the parent is flexing their credit card.

Who’s with me?

 


About the Author

Kelly Rose Bradford

is a London-based journalist and broadcaster, writing for the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Sunday Telegraph, and a host of women's magazines. Her robust opinions and feisty debating skills make her in demand as a social commentator, regularly guesting on ITV's This Morning programme, and across many radio stations, including 5 Live and BBC Radio London.



One Response to Half term – since when has it been up there with the main summer hols in the spendy stakes?

  1. bridget says:

    Couldn’t agree more. And don’t get me started about school trips and associated expense!

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