Published: 22/07/2019
  • This summer, Compare the Market is on a mission to help families settle summer spats and spend quality time together - the ‘Meerkat Mediator’, a voice assistant prototype, is designed to help pacify pressure points over the summer holidays
  • The average family will have 18 squabbles over the school summer holidays, that’s an argument every 2-3 days^^
  • Parents of primary school-age kids found 13:08 to be the peak time for a family falling-out^^
  • Almost a third (30%) of arguments are caused by how much money is being spent^^
  • The average family spends £542 each summer holiday ensuring the kids are entertained^^
  • Britain’s Biggest family - The Radfords - (proud parents to 21 children) know all too well the woes of trying to keep all the kids entertained over the summer and will be the first to trial the Meerkat Mediator prototype.

22 July 2019, London - With the school holidays officially in full swing, new research from Compare the Market reveals parents find it hard to sort summer family fun as tensions rise and bickering amongst family members reaches its peak.

The ‘Meerkat Mediator’ is designed to help pacify pressure points over the summer holidays. It’s a voice assistant prototype which aims to help everyone agree on what to eat and what to watch at the cinema. The Meerkat Mediator taps into the wealth of Meerkat Movies and Meerkat Meals options available via the Meerkat app to help families spend more quality time together.

The research of parents with children aged four to 12 in full-time education found that money woes, choosing a place to eat, the children misbehaving and even deciding what film to watch at the cinema, are the sure-fire factors most likely to start spats between family members over the summer holidays^^. The study found entertainment costs are a real issue of contention with people admitting they spend £542 on average ensuring the kids are occupied over the summer holidays^^.

Trialling the ‘Meerkat Mediator’ prototype is Britain’s largest family, The Radfords, who are proud parents to 21 children. The family know all too well the woes of trying to keep all the kids busy over the summer and the barneys that break out from agreeing activities, alongside the inevitable financial strain of fun family days out and multiple mouths to feed.

Sue Radford comments: “Everything gets twice as busy in the school holidays but we still want to have lots of fun as a family and do as much as we can together. We’re always looking for new ways to entertain the kids, and agreeing on something can be very tricky! When we were asked by Compare the Market to try out the new ‘Meerkat Mediator’, we couldn’t wait to check out the meal and cinema options that cater for everyone. Anything that keeps the entire family happy is a winner in our house!”

The nation confessed that they have 18 barneys with family members over the course of the summer holidays^^. An astonishing 22% of people believe that the summer holidays are the pinnacle time of year when family fall outs are most likely to break out with one in seven families regularly find themselves at loggerheads deciding where to eat out, and one in 10 believe choosing a film to watch is the catalyst to quarrel^^. A tenth put this down to the summer heat with 13:08 proving the most temperamental time of day when spats are most likely to start^^.

Julie Daniels

Head of Rewards
Compare the Market

“With the summer holidays just underway, families could already be finding it difficult to all agree on activities or decide on days out to keep the whole household happy, causing tensions to mount.

“Planning lots together as a family is a great way to reconnect, that’s why this summer, the ‘Meerkat Mediator’ could help alleviate family financial friction and pressure points by tapping into the wealth of meal and cinema options, available via the Meerkat App.”

Dr Sam Wass, child psychologist from Channel 4’s The Secret Life of 4- and 5-Year-Olds, says: “Although most children look forward to the summer holidays, they can also be a tough time for many families. Long periods of unstructured time can lead to lots of disagreements! Many parents worry about the mounting costs that come with entertaining their children, with almost a quarter (24%) citing it as a cause of squabbles.^^”


  • Keep a routine – it’s important not to let bedtimes go out the window during the holidays, especially for younger children. Children need routines, and sleep is key for keeping the whole family happy. Keeping to regular timings will help ensure that everyone in the family is in a good mood – keeping squabbles to a minimum. 
  • Having fun doesn’t need to break the bank – For parents, it might feel as if the more you spend, the more fun the kids will have – but this isn’t always the case! Using vouchers, discounts and signing up to rewards programmes could be the perfect solution for affordable entertainment.
  • Ask for help – setting up playdates with other parents across a few households is good for everyone – a day of looking after your neighbours’ children in exchange for them taking yours tomorrow is a great way to share the load and keep the children occupied.

To learn more about the Meerkat Mediator, visit https://bit.ly/2JAjwRH

For more information or imagery please contact [email protected]

Notes to Editors

Meerkat Mediator is a prototype only and not available to purchase – but you can still get access to Meerkat Meals and Meerkat Movies by downloading the Meerkat App to find something that suits everyone.

^^Survey of 2,000 adults conducted by OnePoll for Compare the Market in July 2019. 

About Compare the Market

The top five factors causing family fall-outs this summer:

  • How much everything is costing
  • A family member making too much mess at home
  • A family member’s irritating behaviour
  • Indecision on what to do for a day out
  • Not being able to agree as a family what to do together

Compare the Market was launched in 2006 and has grown rapidly over the past twelve years to become one of the UK’s leading price comparison websites.

About Meerkat Movies:

Comparethemarket.com launched Meerkat Movies in April 2015, saving customers £110 million since the launch and with 15 million meerkat movie codes redeemed. In addition, since launching in July 2018, Meerkat Meals offers over 4,300 restaurants and has saved Meerkat Meals customers over £26 million*.

For existing customers Meerkat Movies is valid for 12 months up until the expiry date or the first anniversary of the qualifying product. With cinema tickets costing on average £7.49[1], if a customer were to take full advantage of the 2-for-1 offer every week for a year, they could save over £389.48, effectively watching 52 free movies.

*Based on half the number of Meerkat Meals covers (4,873,984) enjoying a free main course of fish and chips worth £10.99

About Meerkat Meals:

Two for one,on equivalent starters, mains and desserts (cheapest free) for up to six people, at thousands of participating restaurants across the UK. Qualifying purchase. Booking req. Exc. Kids meals, drinks and certain days. App only. T&Cs apply. For more information go to www.comparethemarket.com/customer-rewards/meerkat-meals/

Meerkat Movies: Two for one on standard cinema tickets (cheapest free) every Tuesday or Wednesday at participating cinemas. Qualifying purchase required. For more information go to https://www.comparethemarket.com/meerkat-movies/

comparethemarket actively works with its brand partners to help provide great services to customers

comparethemarket and comparethemeerkat.com are trading names of Compare The Market Limited. Compare The Market Limited is an insurance intermediary, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Firm Reference Number 778488).