Summer Stress Is Real For Many Parents; Should Summer Vacations Be Shortened?

By Rachel Cruise, Parent Herald June 07, 04:30 am
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While the kids enjoy a break from school from June to August, it's the parents who are dreading these months of the year. Summer vacations actually mean summer stress for mothers and fathers who have to make sure to keep their children occupied. Schedules go crazy, expenses pile up and parents have to juggle work on top of tending to the kids. Should a shortened summer vacation be the answer to this problem?

The New York Times cites that single parents or low-income families suffer more during summer vacations due to lack of resources. Since kids are home all the time, parents who cannot afford to take a leave from work to watch them have limited options.

More Expenses, Less Quality Activities For Low-Income Families During Summer Vacations

Babysitters, child care facilities, summer camps, road trips and excursions cost a lot and can take up the family's budget. There are affordable choices for classes or child care, but slots quickly fill up as soon as the ads or fliers are up 

Some parents leave their kids with either friends and relatives, but then asking favors has it limits and this can be a hassle for everyone. Then there's also a potential problem with children experiencing the "summer slide" when the person tasked to look after them doesn't provide them with stimulating activities, or simply hand them digital devices, per Parent Herald. Year after year, this situation happens without any improvements.

Summer Vacation Highlights Child Care Crisis, Parental Stress

"Summer is the moment that really epitomizes the child care crisis," said a child advocate Julie Kashen in the NY Times report. The 12-week hiatus from school has become a worsening social and economic concern in America.

However, it's not just low-income families who are suffering. Seeker reports that while summer is regarded as a time for laid-back indulgences, most employees who are parents, regardless of their income brackets, are highly stressed during the season. They are more vulnerable to sleep less, eat unhealthy food more and forego taking care of themselves, as they pour more effort in activities with kids.

Shortened Summer Vacations, A Solution?

It's long been proposed that the kids' summer break must be cut short. The Atlantic has underscored how government leaders have been debating about this since 2012 or even earlier. In other countries, such as Germany, Australia or Britain, school vacations are shorter by six weeks and these are spread out during the year. This helps parents manage their summer expenses better and make plans and reservations ahead of time. This also helps prevent children's summer slide with learning as they only spend a few weeks off school per season.

If not shorter the vacations, perhaps schools should at least come up with creative schedules or policies for the summer as added options to parents. What can you say about this dilemma and should government finally step in make changes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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