Parents' views about the merits or otherwise of family holidays with childcare (incluing kids clubs and other formal programmes) can vary significantly, as can their childrens'. And views do, of course, depend on their ages. You may want a well-deserved break from a young child, while a teenager may welcome the prospect of some independence from you. You do, of course, have the option of opting out of organised activities during your holiday if they do not meet your or your children's expectations.
A recent study by the holiday company Thomas Cook, which questioned 500 children between the ages of five and 14, revealed that 95 per cent of children said spending precious time with the grown-ups was the most important factor in a holiday. The same study found that children in the five to 10 age group prefer to stay in hotels with kids' clubs while most 11 to 14-year-olds prefer villas with communal pools for making friends.
Mainstream operators generally offer programmes dedicated to children. And some operators have differentiated themselves through the offer of programmes or 'club holidays'.
These operators include Club Med, which runs 65 'villages' in 36 countries throughout the world. Most of their villages operate childrens clubs in the summer and winter. These clubs will generally include Baby (4 to 23 months), Petit (2 and 3 year olds) or Mini Club Med (4 to 10 year olds) facilities for children, depending on their ages. Some resorts also offer a Junior programme designed with older kids in mind.
Another well known and reputable option is Mark Warner. Depending on location and time of year, Mark Warner offers a range of kids' clubs for children of all ages. Their portfolio includes beach resorts in Turkey, Italy, Greece and Corsica and chalet hotels for skiing in Austria, France and Italy.
And Esprit Ski Holidays has been arranging ski holidays with a reputable childcare programme for more than 20 years.
The childcare question is particularly important to consider if you're planning a family ski holiday. Check out our 'What Sort Of Trip' guide for further thoughts.
Regardless of the type of holiday you choose, if having an element of childcare is important to you then consider asking the following questions before you commit:
What will my kids actually do?
Will the carers be able to communicate in English?
Are they qualified and is the qualification one that we would respect in the UK?
What is the reputation of the childrens club / childcare provision?
What is the ratio of carers to children? How many kids overall?
What procedures are followed in the event of an emergency and how would they get in touch with you?
Many of the hand-picked properties that you'll find across our site offer childcare. And if you have a question about the right option to suit your family's needs then do contact us and we'll get back to you promptly.