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Physical activity during the school holidays: Parent perceptions and practical considerations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number1697
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
DateAccepted/In press - 8 May 2019
DatePublished (current) - 14 May 2019


Children’s physical activity decreases during school holidays. Less structured days and reduced participation in organised activities may account for some of the decrease. Little is known about the factors that influence parents’ decision to enrol their child in organised activity such as holiday clubs. This paper sought to explore parents’ perceptions of their child’s physical activity during school holidays and the factors that influence holiday activity-based decision making. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with 42 parents of children aged 10-11 years in July 2017 or March 2018. Data were analyzed using a combination of inductive and deductive content analysis to explore parents’ perceptions of holiday-based physical activity and the factors associated with how they provide physical activity opportunities for their children. The data revealed that most parents consider their child’s physical activity levels when planning for the school holidays. However, work commitments in the holidays meant many parents had to rely on both informal and formal childcare. Grandparents were the primary source of informal childcare, despite a perception that children were not as physically active when with them. Holiday clubs were also a viable option, but the cost, location and age-appropriateness of provision inhibit parents signing older children up to these regularly.

    Research areas

  • Physical activity, Children, school holidays, holiday club

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    Licence: CC BY


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