What challenges have parents in the UK faced due to COVID-19

We asked parents in the UK about their experiences and feelings whilst parenting during the pandemic and beyond.
31 August 2021
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Daily life for families has been significantly impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And with school closures forcing many children into home-schooling, parents have had to balance responsibilities for their children, their household, other loved ones, and employers.

So, Kantar has conducted an online survey, asking parents about their experiences whilst raising children during this time... and found that there are some real positives from the pandemic. Explore some of our UK findings here as well as additional answers from other countries within the complete report.

How long did UK parents home-school their children?

More than half of UK parents (56%) report to have home-schooled their children for more than 13 weeks due to the pandemic, compared to an average of 49% across global markets.

32% of UK parents had children aged 0-4 years old that did not attend pre-school or day care during the pandemic.

What were the biggest challenges for UK parents when home-schooling?

Whilst 68% of UK parents did enjoy some of their home-schooling experiences, there were also challenges.

Getting their children to do their class or homework was the biggest, for 37% of UK parents reporting this. They also reported challenges in being able to help their children with their schoolwork (34%) and limiting screens and tech throughout the day (33%).

home schooling challenges

Do UK parents have any concerns around their children returning to the classroom?

The biggest concern felt amongst 36% of UK parents of children returning to the classroom is of them being behind in their education. This is followed by concerns that their children might contract the COVID-19 virus, reported by 34%. However, 30% of UK parents do not have any concerns about their children returning to the classroom, showing the least concern of all countries within the study.

What role has the pandemic played on the employment of UK parents?

Six out of 10 UK parents who home-schooled their children state that the pandemic changed their employment status (58%), with 13% leaving work entirely to balance home-schooling duties.

84% of UK parents on parental leave either extended their leave (63%) or decided not to return to work (21%) due to the pandemic in order to care for their children aged 0-4. This was greater than the global average of 79% extending parental leave or not returning to work.

How supported have UK parents felt during the pandemic?

In the UK, 62% parents have felt supported by their employer in the past 18 months. Similarly, 60% of UK parents felt supported by government and educational resources. The most support has come from their own family, with 88% of UK parents reporting to have felt supported by their family during the pandemic.

uk support parents covid

Are there any changes made through the pandemic that UK parents would like to see continue long-term?

Of UK parents we interviewed, 20% want life to go back entirely to how it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, 57% enjoyed more quality family time and would like to see that continue.

Get more answers

For more findings from this study, access the complete Community Report: Connecting with Parents and Caregivers. Find additional country specific answers on family leave and day care, the impact of home-schooling on employment, parenting young adults, the impact on caregivers, and more.

About this study

This research was conducted online among 5,865 people across eight global markets: US, UK, France, Germany, India, Singapore, China and Brazil

Respondents were sourced from the Kantar Profiles Network. All interviews were conducted as online self-completion between 22 July and 9 August 2021.

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