According to a survey by Aspire Money, UK parents spend an average of £493 a year on their child’s main hobby. Girls are more expensive than boys, costing on average 23% more. Reportedly, one in three parents feel under pressure to buy their child the latest kit for their hobby and parents under 35 spend 26% more. I can easily identify with these figures as my oldest daughter’s hobby costs us more than that.
Bunny has been doing acrobatic gymnastics since she was five years old. She’s now 10years old and has finally achieved her dream of being good enough to be accepted on a competitive squad. The next goal for her is to be picked for an external competition (and to be able to go from straddle to handstand on blocks).
These five years of gymnastics have been a learning curve for me as a parent. I’ve learnt that to get to this level, you can’t view gymnastics as “just a hobby”. Most hobbies are something you can pick up when you want and it doesn’t matter if you’re a bit late or if you miss a few sessions. But gymnastics requires dedication and commitment. When Bunny first started, I’d try to fit gymnastics around our days out and holidays. I didn’t see it as a big thing if we were five minutes late. Now that we know better, it’s the other way around. We are early for every session and we fit our days out and holidays around gymnastics.
Bunny has worked so hard to get where she is and she trains at gym for two and half hours per week. It’s her passion and her motivation. But this comes at a cost… to me. Her fees alone cost me just shy of £600 per year and then there are kit costs, extra training sessions and show ticket costs on top.
I dread to think how much I will have spent on it by time she decides she doesn’t want to do it anymore. But if she’s still doing it at 16 I shall be encouraging her to get a part time job to pay for her own kit.
Ever the fair parent, I am now going to have to start paying for the twins hobbies. They are now the age Bunny was when she started gym and they are nagging me to go to dance classes (thank goodness they both want to do the same thing or I’d be run ragged!). I think by time Baby Bear is five and wants to start some kind of hobby, I’ll need a second job! However hard I have to work to pay for their hobbies and however inconvenient it is, doing all the drop off’s and pick up’s, I will persevere for as long as they choose to do those hobbies. Yes it’s expensive, but I can’t put a price on the pride and happiness my daughter feels when she performs. And as a mum, I too am filled with pride when I see all my children’s achievements and the smiles on their faces when they do something they love.
What hobbies do your children have? How much do they cost you each year?