• Fancy cars and fashion top the list of ways to impress fellow parents on the school run
  • One in five expectant parents admit to feeling pressured to buy latest baby gadgets by the ‘NCT crowd’
  • Almost one third of parents feel pressured to spend on gadgets and trends to boost their kids’ street cred 

With just 2 weeks left of the school term, new research released today by reveals huge sums of money are being spent on looking good on the school run, with parents splurging £300 per year on impressing fellow mums and dads.

Feeling judged

With nearly one third of parents (28 per cent) admitting to feeling judged by other parents when dropping their kids off at school, the research found that image-conscious mums and dads across the country are resorting to a number of tactics to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ at parent’s evenings, children’s birthday parties and the school gates, with fancy cars and fashion topping the list of ways to make that all important winning impression. Looking across the UK, four in 10 of those surveyed in the Midlands (40 per cent) said they felt judged by other parents, compared to just 8 per cent of parents in Wales.

Top five most popular ways to impress fellow parents
1.       Wearing a fashionable high street outfit in front of them
2.       Styling hair (e.g. got a haircut or blow dry) before seeing them
3.       Dropping the kids off at school in a flash car
4.       Power dressing in business attire
5.       Wearing designer items (e.g. handbags)

Impressing the NCT Crowd

For many, the desire to look good in front of other parents begins before their child is even born. Nearly one in five expectant mums and dads (18 per cent) confessed to feeling pressured to spend money on the latest baby trends for their new arrival – either to impress fellow parents at NCT classes or because they were influenced by maternity media including mummy blogs, parenting magazines and online parenting forums, shelling out an average of £168 on the latest gadgets and trends for their new arrival.

Pester Power

The pressure is also on for kids to look good in the playground; nearly one third of parents (30 per cent) revealed they feel forced to buy the latest must-have items for their children. Mums and dads around the country are forking out an average of £147 per year on ensuring their sons and daughters own the very best gear, setting aside £320 per year to pay for the latest tablets and laptops and £277 on the newest smartphones. But it doesn’t stop at tech – parents are also spending a considerable amount on ensuring their kids look the part, parting with £189 on the latest designer threads and £96 on the latest kicks for their little ones.

Three in ten parents agree to fork out on the latest must-haves for their children to reward good behaviour (30 per cent), while more than one in 10 (13 per cent) confessed to ‘bribing’ their kids with gadgets and clothes in the hopes that it would encourage them to behave well in the future. The same proportion of parents (13 per cent) said they kitted their kids with the latest must-haves to ensure their children ‘fitted in’ a school and remained popular amongst schoolmates.

Those in the East of England feel the most pressured to get their kids the latest must-have items, with nearly half of East Anglia residents (41 per cent) admitting to pester power, while those in Wales feel the least pressure, with just 23 per cent of mums and dads in the region feeling compelled to buy their children the latest gadgets and gizmos.

Top five most expensive must-have items for kids Average amount spent per year
Laptops & tablets £320
Smartphones £277
Designer clothes £189
Handheld games console and games £156
Latest must-have toys £120

Children aged 12 to 16 are the most expensive group to buy for when it comes to looking good on the playground, with nearly one third of parents surveyed (28 per cent) revealing they used a credit card to help afford their kids’ must-haves. Perhaps even more worryingly, more than one in ten (14 per cent) went into their overdraft to help pay for the items, while five per cent said they had foregone family holidays to save up.

“It’s interesting to see the amount that parents spend on ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ – whether that’s impressing fellow parent at the school gates or making sure their kids have the latest must-haves in front of their school mates,” said Anita Naik, Lifestyle Editor at

 “To make sure the cost of these material possessions doesn’t eat away too much at your monthly budget and prevent you from being able to afford other family activities, make sure you shop around for gadgets and fashion for you and your kids – look out for discount vouchers and codes to cut the cost wherever possible.”

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