Communities: Parents and Caregivers - Aug 2021
Kantar has conducted an online survey among people globally, asking about their experiences raising children or caregiving during the pandemic and beyond.
Global findings around people's
opinions and experiences raising
children or caregiving during the
pandemic and beyond.
Daily life for families has been significantly impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parents and caregivers alike have been faced with the challenge of balancing their personal needs with those of children, their household, other loved ones and employers.
Between school and facility closures, service policy changes, remote working and the stresses of lockdown during a global epidemic, how are people feeling now?
Kantar has conducted an online survey among people globally, asking about their experiences and feelings whilst raising children or being a caregiver during the pandemic and beyond.
Explore our findings here on:
Well-being During the Pandemic
Family Leave and Day Care
Parenting Young Adults
Impact of Caregiving
This research was conducted online among 5,865 people across US, UK, France, Germany, India, Singapore, China and Brazil.
Additional Physician interviews were collected from 1,249 Primary Care and Pediatric Physicians across US, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy and France.
Respondents were sourced from the Kantar Profiles Network and Kantar’s proprietary Physician panel. All interviews were conducted as online self-completion between July 22nd and August 9th 2021.
1. Well-being During the Pandemic
Explore Parent and Physician answers about the emotional, educational, physical, social well-being and development of children during the pandemic.
Well-being During the Pandemic
We asked parents about their children's social, educational, physical and emotional well-being during the pandemic. Explore their answers and the Physician perspective globally.
How do parents think the pandemic impacted their children's social development?
Social development is the area of well-being parents feel their children have been most impacted by.
Globally, 1 in 3 parents report that their children's social development has suffered during the pandemic (31%).
This is found across all age groups, although the most improvement is seen in children 0-4 (26%) and least in young adults (16%).
How do parents think the pandemic impacted their children's educational progress?
Educational progress is the second highest area of well-being that has been negatively impacted during the pandemic.
Globally, 1 in 4 parents believe their children's education has suffered. This follows the trend of there being a greater impact for older children. One in 3 children aged 0-4 have experienced an improvement in their educational progress according to their parents.
How do parents think the pandemic impacted their children's mental health and emotional well-being?
Globally, 17% of parents report their children's mental health and emotional well-being to have suffered during the pandemic.
However, almost 1 in 3 of parents interviewed state that their children's mental health improved (30%).
Mental health in younger children has been less negatively impacted, according to their parents (14% suffered). Young adults, however, were the most negatively affected (24%).
Over a third of parents who claim their children's mental health suffered have sought mental health support for their child during the pandemic (35%). French parents have reached out for the most support (52%) whilst German (22%) and British (24%) parents have sought the least support out of the countries interviewed.
How do parents think the pandemic impacted their children's physical health?
Similar to mental health, parents say the physical health has suffered for 15% of their children. Again, young adults aged 18-22 were the most impacted negatively (20%) and children 0-4 impacted negatively the least (11%).
Parents report that younger children have seen more improvement in their physical health during the pandemic, 32% of children aged 0-4 and 29% of children aged 5-13.
Do physicians have the same feelings on children's well-being as parents do?
Health professionals report the same order of impact around child well-being, but to a greater degree.
Nine out of 10 physicians believe social development, educational progress and the mental health and emotional well-being of children have suffered due to the pandemic.
Just under three quarters of physicians believe the physical health of children has suffered, whilst a quarter think it has stayed the same.
Are there any changes made during the pandemic that parents would like to see continue long-term?
Globally, 13% of parents want life to go back to how it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, 6 out of 10 parents we interviewed would like to see the continuation of more quality family time.
Have parents felt supported?
Globally, the parents we interviewed have felt most supported by their family (91%). Nearly three quarters (70%) have felt supported by government and educational resources and 69% by their employer in the past 18 months.
However, the least support is felt by government or educational resources for 25% of respondents.
Has confidence in parenting changed pre-lockdown vs now?
For many parents globally, they feel more confident in their parenting skills now than before the lockdown. A total of 61% report to feeling much or somewhat more confident.
This decreases with the age of their children, with 68% of parents with children aged 0-4 feeling more confident whilst only 50% of parents with young adult children (18-22) feeling more confident.
How have recent social justice developments due to race/ethnicity impacted children during the past year?
With social justice movements such as Black Lives Matters and Stop Asian Hate, we asked parents in the US, UK, France, Germany and Brazil how they feel their children have been impacted.
Amongst these five markets, 55% of parents report no impact on their children aged under 22 relating to the increased momentum of social justice movements and visibility of race or ethnicity motivated crimes.
According to their parents, children in the UK have felt the least impact (32%) and Brazil the most (43%).
Almost half of Brazilian parents report a positive impact on their children (46%).
In contrast, 17% of parents in the US report a negative impact on their children - the highest seen among these markets.
How have recent societal changes around gender, gender identity and sexual orientation/identity impacted children during the past year?
Increasing societal support of non-binary gender and LGBTQ+ identity has had less of an impact on children globally, with 59% parents reporting there has been no impact on their children.
This follows the same trend as race/ ethnicity, with children in the UK feeling least impacted (30%) and Brazil the most (49%).
What impact have these trends and movements had on children?
For parents who report these social justice developments to have had an impact on their children, there are a multitude of positives and negatives across race, gender and sexuality.
There was a prominent theme of open communication and access to information to build understanding and awareness and generally help their children feel part of an increasingly inclusive society.
However, there were also concerns around exposure causing confusion, notably in younger children, and a fear for their safety in the realities of the world and specific events.
Read what parents had to say...
Inclusion, understanding and awareness
“Increased awareness of differences and sameness of others. Chance to engage and open discussion.”
“My child has become more caring, understanding, and kind to people regardless of race or gender.”
“She has become far more aware of issues and injustices in society and this has had an impact on the way she thinks and will vote in future.”
“My son is being raise by two mums; it's great for him to see women being empowered in the media.”
“They've taught my children to stand up for injustices they see happening around them.”
“She feels more free to espouse her thoughts and values now that so many others have laid the groundwork.”
“My child is considering transitioning gender so the more positive societal attitude has helped them to feel more accepted.”
“My Trans son came out a little over a year ago, so knowing there are many people out there going through similar problems and situations has helped him to be more open about how he feels, what he wants, and how he wants his life to more self aware and knowledgeable of the world around.”
“More scared of saying something in case it offends.”
“At an age when they should just enjoy being children, they are already confused and asking questions. Whilst we embrace the cultural change, at 6 and 4 they should not be worrying about genders etc.”
“My children are confused! And scared! The movement’s were supposed to create a positive impact and all they created was hate and violence. The gender binary presences has created confusion, how do you explain to a 5 and 8 year old?”
“They do not know what to believe.”
“My children are biracial and recent events regarding police and black people have made them fearful.”
“My child seems to be more angry all the time. Like it is her responsibility to right all the wrongs in the world.”
“They are more focused on everyone's separateness instead of shared humanity.”
“My 9-year-old came to me and asked me if she was bad because she was white which ticked me off.”
“Stop Asian hate was a major challenge for us. It made us scared to leave the house and we now try to limit our time outside.”
Find answers from parents about the positive and negative impact
home-schooling had on them and their children aged 5-18.
We asked parents globally about the positives and negatives of homes-schooling. Find their answers about the personal and family impact here, as well as additional Physician perspectives.
How long did parents home-school their children?
Globally, 86% of the parents interviewed with children aged 5-18 participated in home-schooling due to the pandemic.
Half of these parents home-schooled their children for more than 13 weeks due to the pandemic (49%). Three quarters of Brazilian parents (76%) along with 70% of US and 69% of Indian parents spent this time homeschooling their children.
Singaporean parents had the shortest period spent homeschooling, with 90% doing so for under 12 weeks total.
Who was primarily responsible for home-schooling?
Of those parents who home-schooled their children, more women reported to be primarily responsible for education (78%) than men (52%) globally. Women’s primary role was reported the highest in Brazil (82%) and men’s primary role was reported the highest in France (64%).
Did home-schooling impact employment for parents?
For parents who had home-schooling responsibilities (sole or shared), 29% of women and 16% of men were not working prior to the pandemic.
Men reported to experience the biggest changes to their employment, with two thirds reducing or changing their hours (67%) in comparison to 56% of females. In addition, 17% of male and 15% of female parents left work during the pandemic.
Did parents enjoy anything about home-schooling?
Globally, more than 7 out of 10 parents enjoyed something about home-schooling their children (72%).
China was the only country where a greater majority of parents interviewed reported not to enjoy anything about their experience (53%), with only 47% enjoying it.
For those who did enjoy something about homeschooling, there were many logistical reasons around daily routines.
However, on a deeper level, the parents interviewed shared a number of reasons that made it enjoyable for them and their families.
Here's some of what they had to say....
Being able to see and be involved in their children's educational journey was important for many...
"I'm getting more involved with their school work, getting to know more on the areas that they are good at and struggling with and being able to be there for them as I have been a working mum throughout."
"I enjoyed watching my daughter focus and work hard on her schoolwork. She excelled."
"Seeing what my child was learning, having a glimpse into their school day that I wouldn't normally."
"I liked being able to see their pride when they learned something new, and seeing their accomplishments throughout the year."
"Being able to be in the lessons with him, so to speak. It was informative, eye opening and a little concerning in one particular teachers case."
"My middle child used to struggle with reading but home schooling meant I could bring him on."
Home-schooling also brought closer relationships as parents got to know and bond with their children better...
"I liked being much closer to my son, knowing his aspirations, his ideals, thoughts, way of thinking, and learning things from him made him enjoy that activity a lot"
"I love the way I bonded with my kids, it gives me joy."
"Being together during the difficult times. Took more care of each other by spending quality time and could check on children daily progress."
"Just sharing quality one on one time with my son."
"Being able to bond with my kid more often which really is a positive step towards building a healthy family."
"I enjoyed spending more quality time with my children. It made us much closer and a deeper understanding about each other."
What impact did home-schooling have on parents?
Half of all parents interviewed report that spending more quality time with their family has been the most positive impact of home-schooling.
Enjoyment from learning or remembering things parents hadn’t learnt about in years (i.e. History/ science/ math) were second or third ranked as positives from home-schooling for India (54%), Brazil (48%), China (32%), UK (27%), Germany (26%) and France (25%).
Fewer parents reported a negative impact of home-schooling on their well-being, notably lower in the US (34%), UK (33%) and France (27%).
Of those that did, having to update their knowledge to support their child’s curriculum subjects was the greatest negative impact globally (29%).
What were the biggest challenges for parents when home-schooling?
Balancing both work and home-schooling, getting children to do their work and limiting screens throughout the day were the three biggest challenges felt by parents globally when home-schooling their children.
Parents in China (40%) and Germany (26%) had high concerns over getting their children to exercise whilst in a home-schooling set up, ranking these challenges as second and third biggest respectively.
Helping their children with classwork was equal third for German parents (26%) and the second biggest concern for UK parents (34%).
Do parents have any concerns around their children returning to the classroom?
The biggest concern felt amongst parents of children returning to the classroom is that they might contract the COVID-19 virus, reported by 44%. This is highest in Brazil (70%) and India (64%).
Masks being required is the secondary concern of all parents globally (38%) whilst their children being behind in their education is the third highest concern (32%).
The secondary highest concerns for parents in India is that their child will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to return (59%).
Parents in the UK are concerned the least about the return to school (30%), in comparison to Indian (2%) and Brazilian (5%) parents with no concerns.
Do Physicians have concerns with students returning to the classroom?
For physicians, the largest concern they have is children being behind in their education (56%). They are also concerned about the potential of children contracting COVID-19 (42%) and the need for new protocols to be in place (42%).
Do physicians believe children should receive the COVID-19 vaccine when/if vaccines are approved for them?
Support of child vaccinations when, or if, approved in their country grows based on the age of children. Nine out of 10 physicians in all the markets interviewed support the vaccination for 12-17 year olds, apart from Germany (85%).
Overall, US physicians are most supportive of vaccinations across all age ranges if/when approved for them, however only 69% are supportive of vaccinating children age 0-1.
Physicians in Spain are the most supportive after US physicians. They are more hesitant regarding children aged 2-5, but have a similar perspective on children 0-1.
German physicians are the least supportive of vaccinations for all ages, with support not surpassing 50% for anyone under the age of 12.
Support from UK, Italian and French Physicians fall somewhere in the middle, ranging from 36% (for ages 0-1) and 74% (for ages 6-11).
3. Family Leave and Day Care
Get answers from parents with children aged 0-4 on day care, pre-school and parental leave.
Family Leave and Day Care
We asked parents with children aged 0-4 about using day care and parental leave during the pandemic. Find key global answers here.
Did children attend day care and pre-school during the pandemic?
Globally, over a third of children aged 0-4 years old did not attend pre-school or day care during the pandemic (37%).
Parents in the US kept their children out of facilities the most (59%), followed by India (55%) and Brazil (48%).
Parents in France and Singapore used day care and pre-schools for their young children the most, with 62% French and 58% Singaporean reporting their 0–4-year-olds attending for most or all of the pandemic.
Did the pandemic influence parents' decisions for using day care or pre-school?
For two thirds (68%) of parents who did not use a day care or preschool for their 0-4-year-old, the pandemic influenced their decisions.
Most parents in Brazil (81%) and in China (76%) cited COVID-19 related concerns, whereas other markets cited other influences.
In the US, only 38% cited COVID-19 related concerns and another 28% said their facility was closed.
Similarly, in the UK 53% of parents had COVID-19 related concerns and 25% said their facility was closed.
Did people extend their parental leave or leave employment due to the pandemic?
Globally, 58% of parents were on parental leave when the pandemic began, started leave during the pandemic or extended it due to the pandemic.
This was seen the most in China with 3 out of 4 extending their parental leave whilst only 44% of US parents and 45% of German parents extended their leave.
Globally, 1 in 5 parents who were on or started parental leave during the pandemic decided not to return to work due to the pandemic.
French parents had the highest rate of not returning to work (28%) followed by Brazilian parents (26%).
4. Parenting Young Adults
Parents with children aged 18-22 provide insight into living situations and
their post-COVID concerns.
Explore Kantar's findings on living situations and parental concerns for young adult children.
Where did young adult children live during the pandemic?
Almost 9 out of 10 parents with young adult children (aged 18-22) reported their young adults lived at home during the 2020/2021 academic year (88%).
Singaporean (95%) and Indian (94%) young adults lived with their parents during this time whilst 19% French, 18% Chinese and 17% German parents did not have their young adult children living with them.
Would young adults be living with their parents, if not for the pandemic?
When asked if young adults who lived at home during the 2020/2021 academic school year would have if not for the pandemic, the study shows that 79% would be at home regardless.
This was the highest in Singapore, with 91% parents reporting young adults would be home regardless of the pandemic. In China, however, over half of parents would not have their young adult children still at home (54%) if not for the pandemic. This indicates that the 82% reported to be living at home was largely influenced by the pandemic.
What concerns do parents have for their young adult children?
Globally, 77% of parents have concerns for their young adults because of the pandemic. For Indian parents this is substantially higher than the global average, with 96% reporting concerns.
For most parents, missing the social experience of higher education is the greatest concern they have for their young adult children. Six out of 10 parents in India are worried by this (61%), higher than any market by almost 20% (42% of parents in the UK and China).
Only in Brazil and France is this not the top concern for parents.
Brazilian parents are most concerned by their young adult children finding employment or being delayed in their entry to the workforce, whilst French parents have concerns about their young adult children financially supporting themselves.
5. Impact of Caregiving
Find global answers from caregivers, ranging from the impact on family and personal life,
to support systems and compounded pandemic pressures.
Kantar asked caregivers about their experiences and the impact caregiving had on their lives during the pandemic. Explore global findings here.
Who are caregivers caring for today?
Globally, 49% of caregivers are caring for more than one person that is not their child, as high as 63% in India and 62% in France.
Over half are caring for a parent (52%) and over a third for a spouse or partner (37%).
Two thirds of caregivers share responsibilities with others (66%).
What role has the pandemic played in caregiving responsibilities?
Globally, 18% of the caregivers interviewed were not doing so pre-pandemic. Brazil has the highest proportion of new caregivers (28%) whilst India (5%) and China have the lowest numbers of people who were not caregivers before the pandemic.
Six out of 10 respondents who became caregivers in the past 18 months were not influenced by the pandemic.
Europeans were the least influenced, with only a quarter of Germans reporting that the pandemic had an influence on their decision to become a caregiver.
Globally, the greatest influence on those respondents who became caregivers because of the pandemic was facility concerns due to COVID-19.
This is seen for 9 out of 10 of new caregivers and is evenly split across full-time (45%) and part-time (46%) caregivers. However, it is higher for caregivers who are not parents (54%) in comparison to those who are parents (42%).
What impact has the pandemic had on the well-being of caregivers?
The greatest positive impact felt by caregivers has been having more quality time with the person they care for, with relatively even results regardless of being full-time or part-time or parents or non-parents.
However, the negative impact felt by caregivers is that it has made life more stressful and taken away time for their own self-care due to their responsibilities of looking after others.
How have home-schooling responsibilities impacted caregivers?
For parents who are also caregivers, the negative impacts of home-schooling were similar to those of parents without care-giving responsibilities. However, the negative impacts were heightened.
Globally, 26% found the addition of homeschooling made routines hard or more stressful, 7% higher than parents without care-giving duties. Also, home-schooling created feelings of resentment 6% more in parents with care-giving duties.
The greatest disparity found in the study is that whilst 30% of home-schooling parents report that home-schooling had no negative impact on their well-being, only 17% of caregivers felt the same.
Have caregivers felt supported?
Globally, 87% of caregivers interviewed have felt supported by their family. 72% have felt supported by their employer and the same amount by government or professional resources.
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