2020 has been the year that has brought families together in ways we would have never expected. Forced to the confines of our home to protect those who are vulnerable and to stop the spread of this unwelcomed virus, and hurled into one another’s company day in and day out. But have families begun to adapt to this new way of life and embraced this one on one time?
It seems that many parents have in fact soaked up every minute with their children, so much so that many of them don’t want it to end. According to a recent survey conducted by Legal & General, following the pandemic more than half of parents in the UK (55%) would actually consider becoming full time caregivers to their children after spending so much time at home with them during the pandemic.
However, this isn’t to say that looking after children full time during the pandemic has been a total breeze, especially when it came to keeping the kids entertained for months on end. Children tend to have more energy than they know what to do with most of the time, so it is no wonder that parents struggled to keep them entertained during a global lock down when other means to entertainment were very limited if not totally unavailable.
Places such as local outdoor playgrounds, soft plays, bowling alleys, cinemas and other entertainment venues were closed for long periods, forcing parents to find alternative ways of keeping their children entertained, and for many, all whilst trying to work their full time jobs from home.
Technology can often be a bit of a taboo subject when combined with children, but for some parents it is the only way to get five minutes to themselves or even to get other jobs done around the house. The Legal & General survey revealed that many parents used technology to their advantage during UK lockdown periods, however it was particularly popular with single parents, young parents and fathers too!
Technology doesn’t have to be mindless and there are some really great educational resources that can be accessed via a tablet, phone or computer, that will actually benefit your children, especially in the absence of teachers! During the pandemic parents have found educational influencers to be the most useful online resource for their children (37%) as well as fitness influencers (30%) such as Joe Wicks.
These testing times have given parents across the country a new found respect towards technology and its abilities to not only entertain children, but educate them too – with 32% of parents admitting that they now have a more positive attitude towards technology than they did before the pandemic began.
This use of technology doesn’t mean that more traditional methods of entertainment were off the table however, as parents were still playing with their children and reading books with them. Interestingly, the survey actually revealed that these activities were predominantly done by mums, as well as many of the other childcare duties, such as dressing their children, preparing their food, changing their nappies and bathing them. However, it wasn’t just the childcare duties the mums got the brunt of, they also had to juggle the household chores too, taking on all of the below tasks more often than their male counterparts:
- Cleaning up – 89%
- Laundry – 91%
- Family life admin – 82%
- Buying clothes – 91%
The only exception the women have is looking after the household finances, which tends to sit with the men (75%), but only narrowly so.
So as it seems, mums have taken on the brunt of the childcare and home chores throughout this pandemic, but that doesn’t seem to have put them off too much as over half of mums in the UK (58%) said they would definitely or possibly consider becoming a stay at home parent out of choice, which shows just how much this extra time together as a family has been enjoyed by families all over the UK.
The interest in stay at home parenting may not be the only change to come from the pandemic as going forward parents would like to see improvements in childcare support (45%), child maintenance payments (33%) and maternity/paternity leave (32%) – so let’s see what the future holds.