The findings of the new report suggests that…

  • One of the main things getting in the way of family days is arguments about what people want to do – and keeping the harmony can actually prevent one in ten families spending time together

  • Five times as many families do what their children want rather than something for the whole family to enjoy together – with one in 14 families ending up doing something no one wants to do

  • So to offer a helping hand, Dr David Holmes has created the formula for the perfect family day, revealing a trip to the beach and a ride on a fairground is the ideal way to spend quality time together

  • Parents also feel guilty about not being able to dedicate the time they’d want (12 per cent) to family time together, wishing they could spend an extra five weeks per year together, despite the trials of a family day

As the children have broken up for the summer holidays, parents across the UK are striving to make the most of their time together.

However it’s not just worries about what to do with the children – although almost one in five (17 per cent) admit they lack inspiration. New research among families reveals that one of the main things to obstruct that quality time is actually disagreements about what to do together (26 per cent).

The research of 1,000 parents and 500 kids for the Butlins ‘Family Fun-damentals Report’ uncovers that over one in ten (12 per cent) find keeping the harmony within the family gets in the way of this time, and one in 14 families (7 per cent) end up doing something no one wants to do during their time together.

So to give families a harmonious helping hand over the coming 42 days of summer holidays, Butlins has teamed up with leading psychologist Dr David Holmes to devise the formula for the perfect family day – based entirely on the research of 1,000 parents and 500 kids:


Breakdown of Formula

FT = Family interaction time (amount of time you spend together)

NA = Number of Activities you do together

TP = Types of Places to visit (TP)

E = Emotional Expression (number of times you laugh and hug as a family)

TA = What types of activities you do

W = The Great British weather

T = Amount of technology you use together (as a negative factor)

The research behind the formula reveals that – surprisingly - the whole family agree on what makes a perfect day together, uncovering that it takes place on a beach, with trip to a fairground, on a sunny day. The ideal day would also involve 11 laughs, six cuddles and five kisses.

However where the generations differ is in how much time to spend together – the majority of children (21 per cent) would want to spend 1-2 hours with their parents, whereas the same amount of mums and dads want to spend 5-6 hours with their little ones – despite the potential differences of opinion.

Despite this disparity on what to do during days together, the research found that a quarter (27 per cent) of mums and dads feel they do not enjoy enough days as a family – and interestingly their children agree, with two fifths (40 per cent) wishing they had more days to spend together regardless of the problems they involve.

One in ten parents (12 per cent) admit to feeling guilty that they don’t spend enough time with their kids with the average being seven days of quality time together per month. Parents actually wish they could spend 10 days or more – which equates to an extra five weeks per year, the same amount on average that a working parent gets on leave.

When the family does get together, 26 per cent of mums admit they find it difficult to relax – with one in 20 (five per cent) taking at least half a day to relax so that they enjoy themselves fully. It seems that mums are the ones to take family squabbles to heart, as a quarter of dads (26 per cent) slip into relaxation straightaway.

Another major difference of opinion on days together is around capturing those precious moments, with almost half of parents (44 per cent) wanting to snap at least eight family.

However almost two thirds (64 per cent) of kids would only tolerate up to seven; which could explain why almost one in ten (seven per cent) parents say that their family days are ruined by no one wanting to be in photos – and a similar amount (nine per cent) of children saying their parents taking photos gets in the way.

Dr Holmes said: “It’s clear that families want to spend time together – but the array of personalities and interests in any family dynamic means there is unlimited potential for people to disagree on everything from the weather through to what they eat. This formula is designed to give families a helping hand to get the best they can from their time together – and what you learn from one day can help you make every other day together equally as special.”

Butlins MD Dermot King adds: “We’ve been helping families spend precious days together for almost 80 years – and we know that time spent together is a gift, which is why our resorts provide a wide range of things for families to enjoy doing together. So with the holidays now upon us, the formula will come in handy to ensure there are harmonious times ahead and everyone can be kept happy.”

Summer holidays: Whats On

Summer Holidays

What's on