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Am I being a bad parent by... taking my kids out of school for a term-time holiday?

One reader is wondering if the cheaper flights are worth the missed days.

Image: Shutterstock/Olena Yakobchuk

PLANNING A TRIP away in line with school holidays can be tricky, not least because it’s more expensive and far busier. But is there really another option if you have your heart set on a family holiday? Well, maybe.

Each week in our series, Am I Being A Bad Parent?, we hear from a reader who can’t figure out if they’re on the right track with a parenting choice, or if they’ve gotten something 100% wrong. To get a balanced view of the situation, we put the dilemma to a group of Irish parents, keeping things anonymous to encourage honest answers. 

We’re always on the lookout for new dilemmas, by the way. If you have one, let us know anonymously in our survey here.

This week, one reader is wondering if it’s really all *that* bad to have her school-age kids miss a couple of days.

This week’s dilemma

Am I being a bad parent… to take my child out of school for a holiday? We have a trip away planned for the mid-term break next spring and the flights work out far more reasonably if we come back on a Tuesday night instead of a Sunday. My kids are 6 and 11. I have no real issue with the kids missing two days of school – and would be up front with the teachers about it – but my partner is totally against it. Am I being unreasonable to want to take them out for two extra days just to make life easier?

Our anonymous readers’ responses

No, you’re not being unreasonable – but be careful how you address it with your kids. It’s two days, not two weeks and it’s primary school where there’s plenty of opportunity for your kids to catch up on anything they’ve missed. Family holidays when your kids are young can be important too, there’s more to teaching your kids than just school.  But that said, if your partner’s concern is that you’re giving a negative message to the kids around respecting the school rules and valuing school, that’s fair enough. That can be addressed by talking to the kids about it and explaining why you’re making that decision to take them out for a couple of days.

Yes, you’re being pretty unreasonable.  Kids get so much time off school as it is and teachers are under pressure to get through a wide curriculum. It’s not fair on schools and teachers when parents are looking for special accommodations to be made for their kids so they can swan off on holidays during term time.

I think taking them out of school for two days is completely reasonable. Unless they have already missed a lot of school for other reasons, or are under very specific pressure for exams or similar (which is unlikely given their ages) those two extra days are going to be more or less dispensable. A family holiday, however, could be something that they remember for the rest of their lives! Hopefully for the right reasons…

So what’s the final tally? Is our reader being unreasonable? 

No – 2

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Yes -1 

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