New research by an online flight comparison company has discovered that almost three quarters of British parents relax the rules with their kids whilst on holiday, allowing them to play separately with other children and their families, stay up past their bedtime and even drink alcohol. According the poll, the average age children are allowed to try alcohol on holiday is just 12 years old.
Alcopops, sangria and beer are the top alcoholic drinks children are given permission to drink abroad, with parents saying it’s OK as foreign alcohol is often ‘watered down’.
The team at www.Jetcost.co.uk undertook the survey as part of an ongoing study into British experiences of holidaying abroad. 2,418 Britons aged 18 and over, all of whom stated they were a parent to at least one child under the age of 16 years old, were quizzed about their family holidays and what they allowed their children to do whilst away.
Initially all respondents were asked ‘Do you relax the rules a little for your children when holidaying abroad?’ to which almost three quarters of respondents (72%) admitted that ‘yes’ they do. The reason some didn’t relax the rules a little included ‘just because they’re not at home doesn’t mean they can go wild’ (41%) and ‘It’s for their own safety, more than anything’ (33%).
Respondents who chose to relax the rules were asked why they chose to do so, with the most common reasons cited as ‘they’re on holiday, they deserve to enjoy themselves’ (37%) and ‘keeping them happy and entertained leads to a happy, chilled out holiday for everyone else’ (36%).
Wanting to delve a little deeper, all respondents were asked what it as that they were likely to let their kids do on holiday that they wouldn’t normally let them do at home. When provided with a list of possible responses and told to select all that applied, the top responses were revealed as follows:
- Stay up well past their typical bedtime – 84%
- Wander out of sight with strangers (other children and their families) – 61%
- Spend their money how they wish, not giving reasons why they shouldn’t buy certain things – 55%
- Try alcoholic beverages – 34%
- Eat and drink to excess (i.e. having ice cream for lunch or snacking all day because it’s available) – 30%
According to the poll, those who stated that they let their children drink alcohol abroad were asked what they deemed an acceptable age to do this from, with 12 being revealed as the average. When asked what they were most likely to let their children drink, the top responses were ‘alcopops’ (37%), ‘sangria’ (26%) and ‘beer’ (24%). Just 2% of respondents admitted they let their children drink anything deemed stronger, such as spirits, with or without mixers. When asked why they let their children do so, almost all respondents cited ‘the alcohol is watered down and won’t have the same effect on them as it would at home’ (81%).
Wanting to determine if all Europeans were this lax with their children when it came to drinking abroad, 1,000 European parents (a 25% split across Italy, Germany, France and Spain) were asked the average age they’d let their children drink alcohol abroad. The average age for each country was revealed as:
- France – 7 (years old)
- Spain – 10
- Italy – 12
- Germany – 14
A spokesperson for www.Jetcost.co.uk commented:
“We’re not surprised that the rules are relaxed whilst on holiday, but admittedly we are surprised at the age parents will let their kids drink from. If the average age is 12, there are going to be some who let their kids drink even younger. Ultimately, it’s a parents call, but they should stay vigilant and responsible at all times, ensuring their child is staying hydrated and not drinking a lot / anything too strong.”