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Summer with the kids … long and costly for Mum, but also a joy

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The state schools in New York break up for summer next week, giving kids almost 10 weeks of holiday. (The private schools have already been out for a week.) Like daylight saving, this appears to be a historical anomaly pegged to the days when everyone worked on a farm, and children were required to work in the fields for two months. In Manhattan most kids will go straight into summer camp, the cheapest of which – not counting subsidised social programmes that are heavily oversubscribed – are about $500 (£395) per child per week and lets them out at a very uncordial 3pm. The annual grouse about the cost of the city reaches fever pitch at this time of year.

The childcare hustle is so costly and extreme that if you’re not careful, it can blow through the main advantage of summer: an invitation to spend more time with your children. Research shows, somewhat surprisingly, that during the long break parents actually........

© The Guardian