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Value of Breaks for Ordinary Working Families

The Family Holiday Association has just published a research report into the benefits of holidays and short breaks as part of a wider programme of work to understand the level of insecurity faced by Ordinary Working Families. The value of holidays research has been carried out by Nottingham Trent University and indicates a number of ways in which holidays and short breaks contribute to the general health and well being of parents and children, including a positive impact on mental health, strengthening family relationships and providing new social and cultural experiences for children and adults.

This research is part of a wider programme of work being carried out by Nottingham Civic Exchange, the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and the Family Holiday Association to understand the level of economic insecurity facing Ordinary Working Families.

The research carried out by Nottingham Trent University brings together qualitative material from interviews, a literature review and policy analysis and recommendations. Download the full report here. The key findings are that holidays and short breaks:

  • Should be understood in the context of the multiple demands and pressures upon low to middle income households with children
  • Are seen by families as a legitimate expectation in households where adults are working
  • Have a notable positive impact on mental wellbeing. Conversely, not being able to take breaks had a negative impact on individuals’ mental health
  • Strengthen family relationships
  • Create shared family memories, particularly when children are young
  • Provide new social and cultural experiences for children and adults and are seen as providing educational opportunities in the widest sense
  • Provide respite from the daily routine of work and family commitments. Both looking forward to the break as well as the experience of the break itself have a positive impact
  • Enable children to participate fully in shared social interactions about experiences of holidays. There is strong evidence of guilt and shame for parents and children where this is not provided.
  • Are important, but all families carefully managed household finances to be able to afford breaks without incurring debt
  • Are made less accessible to those with school age children due to the term-time absences policy which was seen as penalising those on low incomes and those with extended families abroad
Value of Breaks for Ordinary Working Families