We must be the family who brings the average down. Why spend on toys when the McBaby can happily entertain himself for hours with my unread newspaper. Total cost 70p!
The study of 3,000 parents by esure home insurance shows that in the early years parents spend close to £5002 per year up to their children reaching school age. 'Absent parent guilt' also seems to play a role in this vast spend with nearly a quarter of working parents (23 per cent) say they regularly treat their children to new toys to compensate for spending little time with them with their ever-so increasing workload.
British parents splash out on toys throughout the year, with Christmas, birthday, Easter and 'good behaviour' gifts - as well as toys to keep children entertained during the long summer holidays - featuring as some of the justifications that parents give for spending so much money on toys for their children. A third of parents questioned admit to buying some toys just so their children can feel they fit in with their friends and won't feel left out of owning the latest 'must-haves'.
According to the poll, from age five to 18, most children are also rewarded for educational and sporting achievements. In total, average British parents will spend a staggering £10,021 on games, action figures, dolls, construction sets, garden toys and arts and crafts kits per child before their kids reach 18. That's £20,000 on toys alone for the average British two child family.
Nikki Sellers, Head of home insurance at esure, said: "Most children want to keep up with their friends by having all of the latest must-have toys, and gadgets and this carries a hefty price tag.
For many parents, their children’s rooms become ‘no go’ zones as they grow up but it’s vital for them to take into account the value of these Aladdin’s caves to ensure they’re not left under-insured if the worst happens. It’s amazing how kids’ crazes to keep up with the latest fads can rack up the value of a family’s belongings."
The poll shows the biggest spend on toys occurs at Christmas with an average of £170 per child. Birthdays cost parents an average of £83, and despite receiving sweet treats at Easter, children are also receiving toys worth £27.
During the school holidays children can look forward to another £43 of toys as parents splash out in the attempt to keep them entertained and a further £46 goes on toys during the annual family holiday - regardless of whether they are enjoying the sunshine abroad or in the UK.
In addition to the usual 'events' which happen every year, generous mums and dads also choose to reward their children for good behaviour - spending £46 on average pear year. Some lucky children can also expect to receive £35 of toys to cheer them up when they are feeling blue and £30 on toys on occasions when hard-working parents feel guilty for neglecting them.
This them continues when children start school, with parents admitting they reward educational achievements by buying toys worth £60 per year for passing exams or doing particularly well in a school subject. Sporting success also makes parents proud and they will fork out £39 per year to celebrate if a child has done well in games or races.
Four in 10 parents surveyed say they only spoil their children because they love them, and 34 per cent claim they’ll do anything to keep them entertained. The knock-on effect is that 45 per cent of British households are now clogged with toys as parents struggle to contain their children’s possessions in one room of the house. This may be the reason why a quarter of families have a dedicated playroom.
Breakdown of results £s spent per year
Educational achievements 59.68 (from age 5 and up)
Reward for good behaviour 46.39
Annual holiday 46.24
School holidays 42.89
Sporting achievements 39.22 (from age 5 and up)
Toys to cheer them up/td> 34.61
Guilty spends 29.86
Total 578.74 a year
Total over 18 years 10,417.32
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