Hoop asks, have you got FOSH, Fear of School Holidays?

By creating one central resource where free activities can be found, Hoop aims to take away the fear of school holidays and replace it with excitement, for both parties involved.

Izzy Ashton

Assistant Editor, BITE

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As a child the summer holidays seemed to stretch endlessly, excitingly ahead of you. School was out and the next month, if you were lucky, was full of lazy, hazy days spent with friends. But for parents, it can feel quite different. Pressure to find childcare, to keep children entertained, to live up to the ideal of parenthood exacerbated by social media, all add up to create what family activity app, Hoop have termed ‘FOSH’, or Fear of School Holidays.

The overall cost of the summer holidays is a significant factor when it comes to FOSH. It is estimated that parents will spend £7.7 billion in total to entertain their children this summer. As a result, more than three quarters of parents (76%) say that they can’t always afford the cost of activities for their children in the school holidays, while 16% admit to borrowing money to fund their summer fun.

Hoop’s research revealed that a quarter of parents of 5 to 16-year-olds, which equates to 2.7 million parents in the UK, dread the school summer holidays. This equates to more people than suffer from common fears such as flying, snakes, needles or confined spaces. The biggest struggles for parents include keeping the kids entertained (50%), balancing childcare with work (48%) and money concerns (66%).

In an attempt to save money, 58% of parents rely on family members or friends to help look after their kids, adding up to an average of nine days’ worth of childcare. What’s more, a savvy 59% of parents keep their eyes peeled for free activities.

76%
of parents can’t always afford the cost of activities in the summer holidays
58%
of parents rely on family members or friends to help look after their kids
16%
of parents admit to borrowing money to fund their summer fun

Hoop have worked with bestselling author Giovanna Fletcher to launch its Summer for Free guide, 3 million minutes of free activities, 75,000 activities that are happening for kids across the summer. The local guide can be used on both the app and website and also includes tips from other parents. The brand is aiming to take the pressure off parents while also inspiring kids through activities on offer. The app itself was born out of a collective struggle of a group of parents frequently finding themselves wading through forums, noticeboards and websites to see what was on for their kids. Hoop puts all these activities in one place and has, since its launch in 2016, been downloaded by over 1 million parents.

The pressure facing modern parents has only been exacerbated by the onslaught of social media, and by the prolific photos of happy families littering your feed. This can have the biggest impact on parents when it comes to not feeling good enough, of not living up to expectations and of comparing their own parental prowess to the imagined perfection of others. It's a state of play which means ‘comparison analysis’ has become an emerging trend in parenting and beyond.

Initiatives like this from Hoop are helping to make both parents, and kids’ lives, easier and happier. By creating one central resource where free activities can be found, Hoop aims to take away the fear of school holidays and replace it with excitement, for both parties involved. By taking a real view of what the summer means for parents, the brand proves the marketing firepower of empathy and understanding.

Visit Hoop’s website to find the guide or download the free app. Visit Third City's showcase to read the full case study.

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