For school-aged children, the past year has been incredibly different to normal years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. With schools having been closed for months on end and children largely unable to socialize with friends or go on outings, the challenges have been great for both children and their parents. However, the latest research by Redfield & Wilton Strategies shows that 73% of parents think their school-aged children have responded to the coronavirus crisis well.
A significant majority of parents also said their children responded to the challenges presented by the pandemic resiliently (74%) rather than negatively (26%), a proportion which has not changed since we last posed this question in February 2021.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, most British parents and guardians believe it has helped them to become closer to their children, as 72% of respondents say the pandemic has improved their relationship with their children. Just 28% of parents said the pandemic has challenged their relationship with their children—though this increases to 51% for those parents who said their children have not responded well to the pandemic.
The belief that the pandemic has resulted in an improved relationship with their children is similar among male (74%) and female respondents (71%). Further, similar proportion of parents who have been working from home (75%) and not working from home (75%) said their relationship with their children has improved as a result of the pandemic, indicating that the increased time spent at home by some parents has not necessarily been the factor that translated into an improved relationship with their children.
Despite the above figures, parents also report that the pandemic has not been without its hardships for their kids: 53% of parents believe the pandemic has had a negative impact on their children’s mental well-being, whereas 37% believe it has not negatively impacted their children’s mental health.
Although many parents may be concerned about the negative impact the pandemic has had on their children, a majority (57%) of respondents now feel confident about their children’s ability to respond to future crises that may occur in their lifetimes as a result of observing how they responded to this crisis. Conversely, 43% of parents now feel anxious about their children’s ability to respond to future crises.
Interestingly, men (49%) are more likely than women (38%) to feel anxious about their children’s ability to handle future crises, as are respondents who self-identify as middle class (48%) rather than working class (38%). The sense of anxiety about their children’s ability to respond to future crises is also significantly higher among parents who said their children did not respond well to the pandemic, at 69%.
With schools now re-opened and lockdown restrictions gradually easing, parents have reason to believe their children’s wellbeing may soon improve. Though children—like adults—have responded to the pandemic in varying ways, the large majority of parents believe their children have handled the last year’s many challenges well, and have even emerged with an improved parental relationship. Remarkably, many parents now believe their children are better equipped to handle any future crises after overcoming the struggles they endured during the pandemic.