British parents just seem to work but not play

New research has shown that one in five  parents can’t afford to take enough time off to enjoy a proper holiday. It also reveals that a huge 49% of workers will not use their holiday allowance, over 72% are home  too late to spend time with their children and during a working week, dads spend an hour less each day with their families than mums do.

This new research comes courtesy of  Thomson Holidays and it makes depressing reading that nearly half of UK workers didn’t use their holiday allowances in the past 12 months, 10% already know they will not use their holiday allowance  and that as many as 1/5 can’t take the time off to have a holiday.

Thomson have created the first Family Charter to try and make families spend quality time together. Commissioned by Thomson and released to coincide with the all new report from the Party Parliamentary Group, called “Giving Britain A Break”.

The Research shows that every member of a typical British household, be it an adult or a child, truly values quality time spent on holiday and think that it creates the kind of precious memories that last a lifetime. When parents were asked what they would most like to do with their children if they had the time off, over half said they would take them on holiday.

Work is taking its toll so much these days, that over two thirds are home late so they can’t spend time with their kids and for those that do get home, more than 1 in 8 (16%) are working on their Blackberry’s, mobiles or laptops. Over a quarter (27%) of parents stated that in an average week they spend less than an hour a day together with their children – despite almost half saying they wanted to spend more time together.

Dads are missing out more than mums – with an hour less time with their children each day – adding up to almost a year by the time they leave school. But with parents working longer and harder than ever before, true quality time together is becoming alarmingly rare.

In response to the new findings, Thomson is creating a first ever Family Charter to put quality time back at the heart of the family – both at home and on holiday. It is calling on parents and kids to identify the promises they should make to each other about spending time together. A national vote will then create the top five rules for the official Family Charter. The Charter will be developed with leading children’s champion Nicky Cox MBE, editor of award winning children’s newspaper First News, which is read by more than a million UK children every week and their families.

Nicky Cox, MBE said: “Forget ‘me time’ and ‘you time’, what we need now is ‘our time’, together as a family. We are inviting every reader of First News – children, teenagers and parents alike – to identify the top promises they should make to create quality time together. The Thomson Family Charter will help us all ditch the distractions and dedicate more time to our families. We know it’s tough, but let’s find a way of working together as families. It’s not just about parents offering more time, but kids making time too.”

The creation of the Charter comes alongside news that families are healthier and happier when they holiday together. Giving Britain a Break, a parliamentary report published today, supported by the Family Holiday Association, reveals that when it comes to the overall wellbeing of British families, quality time spent on holiday makes all the difference and could have a positive impact on Britain’s economy. As stated in the report, if social tourism initiatives in the UK could ultimately mirror the success of schemes in neighbouring Europe they could deliver up to £5 billion to the tourism sector.