The challenges of the back-to-school season
Written by Joanna McFarland
A fresh, clean backpack. The perfect first-day outfit. Everything during Back to School time feels new—the teachers, the schedule, the possibilities. Except when it comes to getting kids all the places they have to go. As parents ourselves, we’re all too familiar with the challenges that come with back to school — the early morning departures, making sure all the homework, uniforms, projects, signed permission slips, and everything they’ll need that day is in the car. It all adds a layer of stress that we were certainly glad to leave behind during the lazy days of summer. And now it’s back.
We know the struggle is real. We started HopSkipDrive to solve our own transportation challenges with 8 kids, 5 schools, and 17 extra-curricular activities between us. We knew we weren’t alone, but this back to school season we decided to find out just how big a challenge this is for other families. So we asked 1,001 parents with kids ages 6 to 17 what they thought. And, yep, our families aren’t that unique. It’s a universal struggle. Our hearts go out to everyone facing this challenge in the coming weeks. We’re right there with you!
Here is what we found out:
All the hours in the car are a challenge (and employers aren’t too happy)
- For 20% of parents, managing their child’s transportation schedule is the worst part of going back to school.
- Parents are spending lots of time driving their kids to school and all of their activities. In fact, 44% of parents surveyed spend more than 5 hours per week in the chauffeur seat.
- In California, 16% of parents spend more than 10 HOURS driving their kids every week.
- And the juggle is causing added professional stress. For 59% of parents, getting kids to their activities affects their work schedule on at least a monthly basis. For 40% it’s happening at least weekly.
- According to 26% of parents, they have put their job at risk to meet their child’s transportation needs.
Conflicting priorities are making us more stressed out
- Work schedules and kids’ activities are often in direct conflict. For 46% of parents, their professional demands have prevented their child from participating in extracurriculars.
- And the burden is almost equally shared by moms and dads (hooray for broken stereotypes) — 43% of dads and 48% of moms have had to put work ahead of their kids’ interests.
Without dependable transportation, it’s even harder
- It’s clear that getting kids where they need to go is a huge burden when 35% of parents feel that managing their child’s transportation schedule is more stressful than doing their taxes! The fact that transportation stresses span the year instead of just one month may have something to do with it.
- Or, the intensity of the pain point may be because 29% of parents believe their current transportation is somewhat or not dependable.
- While meant to ease the burden, parent-driven carpools often add to it for the 23% of parents that say their carpool arrangements fall through at least once a month.
Hearing from all of these parents how hard transportation is this time of year makes our mission at HopSkipDrive clearer than ever: we are the safe, dependable solution parents can count on to get their kids where they need to go when they can’t do it themselves. We’re here to help! As those school bells start ringing once again, HopSkipDrive can ease the burden and let families focus on all the excitement and newness headed their way.
Welcome back to school, everyone!