Will A 4 Day School Week Lead To Burntout Parents?

I was on Good Morning Britain, the TV breakfast show on ITV today talking about whether kids should have a 4 day school week. Interestingly, as a coach who helps working mothers end burnout, I think this is the worst idea ever. Parents are stressed out enough and by all means, bring in a 4-day working week for the parents which I am all for, but please leave the kids alone.


Why do I say this? Because school serves several functions including:

  • Education
  • Childcare
  • Social life for the kids


Shifting the burden of educating the kids onto the parents with a 4-day is not a clever idea. Parents are not teaching professionals, they do their best to support that should be as far as their remit goes. 


Then, there is the small issue of childcare for working parents. When my kids were younger, childcare was my single biggest stressor. I am not sure where working parents are going to find childcare for an extra day and this is a financial burden they do not need.


There are proponents for the 4-day school week who say that it will be good for the children’s mental health. I am not sure as they will have to work harder in the remaining four days to pack in the rest of the curriculum which will result in long days.


Then, there are the underprivileged kids who come to school for structure, sometimes for their only hot meal of the day and to see their friends. The domestic life for these kids is unstable enough and the sustained bit of stability they get at school should not be messed with.


There are also extra-curricular and social activities that the kids engage in, at school. This is an integral part of their education and should not be sacrificed because teachers are stressed out. By all means, address the issue of burnout teachers by providing more funding and more efficient systems but please do not shift the burnout onto parents.


I speak with working mothers every day who feel like they are failing and pushed from pillar to post and that is with their kids being in school for 5-days a week. The sad truth is that a burnout parent cannot bring up a well-adjusted kid. Those poor kids pay for it one way or another, so rather than play ping pong with burnout and shift it from teachers to parents, let’s come up with a more sustainable solution.


Luckily the government is on the parent’s side, and the ITV poll this morning on Twitter showed that more than three-quarters of parents do not want the 4-day school week, so I rest my case.


If you are a working parent in burnout and want to find your way out of it to enjoy your kids and your career, grab a free slot with me here for a chat to see if I can help you.