75 per cent of parents admit their children spend less time studying in lockdown than they would at school, working 2.5 hours less a day.
That’s according to research from Churchill Home Insurance, which asserts many parents cannot wait for schools to reopen as they are finding home schooling difficult. More a than a third (39 per cent) of parents say they feel inadequate to teach their child during lockdown, while 19 per cent are worried that their teaching skills will have a negative long-term effect on their child’s learning.
It seems a common unpleasant feeling for parents is guilt that they are not spending enough time with their children during lockdown (27 per cent). Those with young children, under four are particularly affected, as their children do not understand that they need to work and want them to be playing with them all the time (53 per cent), plus they obviously also need constant supervision (43 per cent).
One in six parents working from home say some clients and colleagues do not understand their responsibilities as a parent, which can make work a struggle. Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of parents working from home are struggling to attend online meeting and conference calls, with 18 per cent constantly apologising to clients and colleagues for the noise children are making in the background.
Table one: Challenges facing parents in lockdown
|Percentage of parents working from home who have faced this
|Number of parents who have faced this
|My child(ren) does not understand me working from home and want me to play with them constantly
|33 per cent
|Lack of independence as my child(ren) needs to be supervised constantly
|28 per cent
|I feel guilty about not spending enough time with my child(ren) while I am in the house at the same time
|27 per cent
|I am struggling to perform my duties as a worker and a parent at the same time
|26 per cent
|Having to help children while home schooling
|26 per cent
|Challenge to attend meetings whilst sticking to my child’s routine
|23 per cent
|I am constantly apologising to clients / customers / colleagues for the noise the child(ren) is making in the background
|18 per cent
|Clients / customers / colleagues do not understand my responsibilities as a parent
|18 per cent
Churchill says trying to fit in a full day working at home while looking after children and home schooling means many parents have had to adopt new working practices. One in five parents still working have either changed their working hours to start earlier (20 per cent) or work in the evenings (20 per cent) to accommodate their child’s needs during the day.
Nearly 12 million parents (65 per cent) get less than an hour to themselves each day. It is even worse for the 2.3 million parents who say they don’t get any time to themselves at all.
As such, parents are increasingly looking for ways to grab a few minutes of peace and solitude. Some of the most popular strategies are allowing children to watch more TV (31 per cent) or parents even locking themselves away in the bathroom (26 per cent). More than a fifth or parents have brought forward their child’s bedtime to create some time for themselves in the evening (17 per cent).
Churchill has partnered with author and meditation teacher Sue Pickford, alongside author, podcast host and mum of three Giovanna Fletcher, to launch a new series of audio books aimed at teaching mindfulness techniques to children aged 4-7.
The five stories, featuring different mindfulness techniques, are specially designed to inspire and relax young minds. The series, “Little Chapters of Chill”, contains five books taking the listener on a fun, calming adventure with Churchie the dog, which are perfect for bedtimes or moments of down time.
Each story is just 12 minutes long, ideal for a young child’s attention span. The books have been written by Sue Pickford, are read by Giovanna Fletcher and have been designed to keep children entertained while also supporting better mental health practices through mindfulness exercises.
Fletcher said: “With three boys under six, I know how everyday can become a juggling act of epic proportions. Home schooling whilst trying to get work done is not easy. But it’s also important to take a moment to breathe and enjoy being at home together. That’s where mindfulness can help, and that’s why I’m super excited to be narrating Churchill’s new audiobooks, Little Chapters of Chill. Each story includes a mindfulness exercise to help kids – and hopefully parents! – get some more chill time.”
Pickford added: “Mindfulness and meditation are just as important for children as they are for adults, especially now as they have been through a huge amount of disruption to their routines. Taking a few minutes out of a busy day to practice mindfulness, such as breathing techniques and visualisation, can help to slow down the pace of life and be calming. The audio books I’ve written will really help parents, as they will help children relax and focus on positive thinking.”
Listen now to the free audiobooks by searching ‘Little Chapters of Chill’ on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, or visit churchill.uk/little-chapters-of-chill-listen.