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Half of parents left feeling overwhelmed and isolated during pandemic

New poll by Place2Be reveals the need for more support for parents of young children. 

Around half of parents of 4-11 year olds have felt isolated during the pandemic (52%), and a similar proportion have felt overwhelmed (54%) or anxious (53%) about parenting, according to Place2Be's new research.

Animation of mother with arm around child

The findings of the survey of 962 parents of children aged 4-11 years emphasise the need for better support for parents and carers of younger children, particularly in relation to managing children’s challenging or concerning behaviour. The poll revealed:

  • Nearly half (48%) of parents felt they would have benefitted from advice about how to manage their children's behaviour during the pandemic.
  • Being cut off from traditional support structures has undoubtedly taken its toll – with 49% of parents agreeing that it has been a challenge to manage their child's behaviour, and around one in eight (13%) admitting they have not been able to cope.
  • The most common concerning behaviours included children spending too much time gaming (20%), feeling anxious (18%), having meltdowns (17%), having trouble sleeping (17%), and refusing food or picky eating (17%).

The findings are released today to coincide with the launch of Parenting Smart (parentingsmart.org.uk) – a new resource from Place2Be featuring practical advice and tried and tested tips for parents and carers of primary age children.

Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be, said

“We all want the best for our children, but being a parent can be really tough, and this has been exacerbated over the past year and a half by the pandemic. Through our frontline work in schools, we’ve spoken with countless parents and carers who have seen changes in their children’s behaviour and are worried about the impact on them.  

We’re delighted to launch Parenting Smart today to help parents feel confident in supporting their children, and to give them some practical tips and advice. With the right support, parents can have an enormously positive impact on their children’s wellbeing, even in the most challenging of circumstances.

The research commissioned by Place2Be also revealed that:

  • 18% of parents think their child’s behaviour is worse now than it was before the pandemic
  • Mums are much less likely than dads to feel supported as a parent (38% compared to 51%)
  • Compared to behaviour before the pandemic, parents were more likely to say their child was now spending too much time gaming (15% vs 20%), having trouble sleeping (13% vs 17%), feeling anxious (15% vs 18%) or struggling with separation (9% vs 12%).

Parenting Smart is a free resource for UK parents and carers. All of our content is created by Place2Be’s parenting experts and is based on evidence and their experiences working with children, young people and their families. The site has been piloted with parents and carers in Place2Be partner schools across the UK.

Because of Parenting Smart I started to behave differently, and as result my child's behaviour has changed too. A parent involved with the Parenting Smart pilot

The development of Parenting Smart has been possible thanks to funding from the Nominet RESET mental health programme.

The pandemic has thrown the lives of so many of us off balance – with confinement and isolation having presented particular challenges to the way we raise, educate and socialise our children – which is why we are so pleased to be partnering with Place2Be on this new service. It will be promoted across UK schools to provide parents, teachers and carers with an invaluable digital resource to help tackle some of the issues that might affect children and their families as they navigate the challenges of growing up. Nominet Interim CEO, Eleanor Bradley

Visit Parenting Smart

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