Family vacations are an important part of life for many families and may lead to beneficial outcomes for family members. Potential negative aspects of family vacations have also been identified, including the stress of increased time together. Many accommodation providers have developed children't day programs to help people negotiate these constraints. The purpose of this study was to explore how children's participation in day programs influenced the parents' experience on vacation. An open-ended questionnaire was e-mailed to parents whose children attended a children's program while on family vacations and a qualitative analysis was performed. The overall theme that emerged during this study is that parents' stressful experience during family vacations can be moderated by participation in children's programs. Findings indicated that parents were very satisfied with the programs, children's participation in such programs provided opportunity for parental time alone, parents experience positive emotions while their children were at the program, and the children's program served as an affordance that helped parents negotiate constraints they experienced during the family vacation. Future research needs to further explore these findings to better understand how to help commercial accommodation providers better serve families.
Agate, Joel; Agate, Sarah; and Birchler, Kathrin, "A Vacation Within a Vacation: Children's Day Programs and Parental Satisfaction" (2015). Recreation and Leisure Studies Faculty Publications. 1.