The past two years have proven an immense challenge for parents, as many tried their hand at math, science, and social studies for the first time in decades, hoping to offer some at-home guidance for their household student. Others attempted to balance childcare arrangements and work, leading to frustration and stress.
A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute, in partnership with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, sheds light on these experiences for both parents and children.
Parents are clear – remote learning has been a challenge for their households. Seven-in-ten parents with children between the ages of six and 17 say this. This, as three-quarters say that their children have transitioned to more screen time and less social time compared to the pre-pandemic period.
For one-in-three, scholastic performance has also been an issue. This group of parents – 36 per cent – say their child’s performance in school has worsened over the past two years. Half (49%) say their child has maintained a similar level of performance, while 14 per cent have reportedly excelled.
Provincial governments across the country and their handling of schools have been a source of much controversy throughout the pandemic as students have been in and out of classrooms depending on the COVID-19 situation. Parents are more likely to feel like decision makers have missed the mark over the last two years. Two-thirds (67%) say policy makers are not considering their children’s well-being enough. This sentiment is stronger among parents with younger school-aged children (72%) than those with teenagers (63%) or children five and under (67%).
The good news is that parents are – despite the difficulties – twice as likely to agree that their child is coming through the pandemic well (66%) than they are to disagree (29%). A regular schedule at school and a return to normalcy would be much appreciated by many, as two-thirds of parents (65%) say the pandemic has been a significant or severe disruption to their lives. Parents are nearly twice as likely as those without kids (30% to 17%) to say that they have tested positive for COVID-19 since March 2020. Further, they are also more likely to say that their mental health has worsened during this time than those without children in their household (61% vs 53%).