Chinese Parents Feel “Stress of Summer”

Sue Ng writes:

Sending children on overseas tours has also become an indispensable part of the break, with nearly everyone in Chan’s children’s class joining a summer study tour to experience an overseas educational environment, culture, and language through meeting people, visiting famous universities and sightseeing.

Chan said her 11-year-old son had benefited from an 11-day tour of Italy, which included museum trips and a requirement to submit drawings after their experiences.

Cheng Guowei, a representative of the East Meets West study tour centre based in Shanghai, said parents were concerned about their children’s education.

Our 11 year old son did not go to Italy.

Or on any educational tour.


He’s taken no academic classes.

Nor tutorials.

He’s had a lot of down time: riding his bike, playing basketball and ultimate frisbee and practicing karate and swimming, reading, picking strawberries, making silly movies, going to amusement parks, and admiring his best friend’s new dog.

Some of this happens via week-long daycamps, which tend to run from 9am to 2pm.

He and his 9 year old sister have a summer “Bucket List” of fun things they want to do before school starts again in September.  This morning they mentioned that fishing is next up on our list.  Most nights we watch a silly show as a family: Impractical Jokers.

As children in China look forward to their six-week summer holiday, parents are finding themselves suffering from higher levels of stress and financial strain than they do during the rest of the school year.

“No freedom summer holiday” became a trending topic on Weibo, China’s Twitter, in May, as parents began spending much time and money planning their children’s holiday schedule. It was a similar tale last year, when “Having 30,000 yuan (US$4,350) monthly salary cannot afford the summer holiday” also went viral online.

Both trends reflect the anxiety and fear of parents that their children will lag behind other classmates during the summer break. To keep their offspring in study mode, parents try to fill the holiday – which typically begins in July and ends in September – with different classes and tours, at ever-increasing expense.

In the USA, you can control the parent stress you feel, in part, by choosing your neighborhood.

In our town, nobody is doing much that is academic.

But there are towns a few miles away full of Tiger Parents loading up their kids with summer learning activities.