LONDON — It’s a classic scene depicted in countless movies and TV shows: noisy and agitated kids driving mom and dad crazy from the backseat during a road trip. Finally, one of the parents proclaims, “Don’t make me turn this car around!” Well, before mom or dad can turn the car around, they have to get their children inside first, and according to a new set of research, just that task alone is going to take quite some time.
A new survey of 2,000 U.K. moms and dads finds that the average parents will spend the equivalent of four full days each year coaxing their children into the car. Toddlers were identified as the most frequent culprits when it comes to delaying a big trip or mundane morning commute.
The research, conducted by SEAT UK, also found that one third of parents will end up being late for work at least once per week because they were busy getting their kids ready for the day. All in all, the survey respondents said that it takes an average of 10 minutes to get a child ready for a journey, with seemingly simple tasks like getting their shoes and a jacket on accounting for most of that lost time. Meanwhile, the survey shows that one in 14 families usually needs up to 40 minutes longer to get going in the morning since having children.
While 10 minutes probably doesn’t sound too bad, it eventually adds up to a substantial amount of time, jumping up to a staggering 96 hours, or four days per year. Over a quarter of parents admitted that they even bribe their children with candies or the promise of their favorite music being played on the ride to entice them into the car.
Nearly half of respondents (47%) said that the “terrible twos” are the absolute worst age when it comes to going on trips or drives smoothly and quickly with their kids.
For what it’s worth, the survey also noted that city living seems to make getting kids in the car even harder. Children living in London were found to be the most likely to make their parents late for work. In fact, 16% of surveyed London parents said they are late for work because of their kids every single day. Consequently, one in four London parents said they “dread” the daily task of motivating their children to get in the car.
Interestingly, Scottish children appear to be much more behaved, with 46% of surveyed Scottish parents saying they are never late for work because of their kids.
Other frequently cited travel challenges among respondents were: making sure everyone has their seat belt on, last-minute potty breaks / emergencies, and making sure everyone has all the toys they will need for the journey.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.