FOSH (Fear of the School Holidays) is sweeping the nation. Family activity experts Hoop spoke to parents across the UK, and found that 1 in 4 dread the summer holidays.

Summer for Free Guide

Summer for Free Guide

Whilst the summer break is a brilliant opportunity for family time, it’s also a time of year that requires a whole lot of planning. The biggest struggles for parents include keeping the kids entertained through the break, balancing childcare with work, and forking out on additional costs – which affects over 66% of parents.

So what causes FOSH? And more importantly how can we as parents overcome it? We spoke to Psychologist Dr Dion Terrelonge to tackle the key factors that came up as contributors.


It’s estimated that parents will spend £7.7 billion in total to entertain their children this summer, at a total of £1,497 per family.

Dr Dion Terrelonge, Psychologist explains, ‘It’s important to remember what is on your doorstep and is available for free. Looking at Hoop’s guide to 3 million minutes of free activities for kids is the perfect place to start. Then just take a step back and explore what you have nearby, are there friends that can do play dates? Is there is a wood for a nature walk? Can you explore new parks?

Last minute planning

We know from our research that a huge 77% of parents leave holiday planning to the last minute. 

Dr Dion Terrelonge explains, ‘Minimising the unknowns can help greatly as this takes away feelings of uncertainty and apprehension and leaves fewer blanks for the brain to fill in with negative thoughts and worry. My advice would be to be preemptive, do not leave planning to the last minute and seek safety in numbers by pairing or grouping up with other parents with whom you may be able to split childminding and activity chaperoning with. Start planning now!’

The impact of social media

Over two-fifths of parents say that other families look like they are having more fun online – and it’s mums that are impacted the most – almost 30% more women than men feel this way. It’s different across generations too, with parents who are 16-34 years old significantly more likely to be affected by social media pressures than those aged 45-54.

Dr Dion Terrelonge explains, ‘We know that parenting is one of the most difficult and pressurised jobs an adult can do, as well as the most rewarding; but parenting is tangled up rather messily with our own histories. With parents wanting to do better than, as well as or differently to their own parents; therefore they are often consciously and unconsciously comparing themselves, which adds pressure and worry. Couple this internal narrative with the external narrative so readily provided by social media of families taking their children on luxurious holidays and ever cheerily faced children and you have the perfect conditions for negative self comparison and feelings of lacking which may well be unfounded.’

To give parents a helping hand at combatting FOSH this summer, Hoop has worked with best-selling author, podcast host and mum of three Giovanna Fletcher to launch a Summer For Free guide.

It has 75,000 things to do with the kids across the country and 3 million minutes worth of free activities, allowing parents to have fun with the kids, find different things to do or alternative means of childcare – all without breaking the bank.