The children’s charity Barnardos has called on the Government to strongly consider the needs of children and parents during the phased re-opening of the country.
A survey carried out by Barnardos has found that 84% of children are missing their friends, 68% miss school, 53% are having more difficulty with their bedtime routine, and 38% are experiencing more tantrums and outbursts.
The findings also show that those parenting alone, and those with children under the age of 10 reported feeling the most pressure of the COVID 19 restrictions.
Parents reported less sleep (1 in 3), less exercise (1 in 3), and worrying about the health of family members (1 in 2) as contributing to this stress.
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Barnardos CEO Suzanne Connolly said: “…This survey primarily highlighted the challenges faced by families during the COVID19 restrictions. Parents report that the majority of children miss their friends and school, and that children are having more difficulty than usual at bedtime with many experiencing more tantrums and outbursts.
“The survey tells us that for 1 in 3 lone parents, and those with younger children, the restrictions are having a more negative impact, both on the parent and the child. One parent commented: “As a single parent I feel judged when leaving my house with the children.” Families with younger children reported the need for additional support (15%).
“The lack of childcare support is a huge contributor to this stress and hundreds of respondents reported that trying to balance parenting and working at home added a lot of pressure to the household – one respondent told us: “A lot more work for mothers with everyone at home and trying to keep the peace and accommodate everyone’s needs, working from home, studying, in need of mental health support.”
Suzanne Connolly continued: “However, half of families reported being satisfied or extremely satisfied with family life in general. Some families noted how the restrictions have allowed them to stop, take stock of what is important and to spend quality time together.”
One respondent, a grandmother, commented: “The boys are extremely stressed… they are terrified I will be infected by them or others and will die. The total focus everywhere on the virus is really upsetting children, irrespective of their circumstances. It is adding stress. My grandsons wrote emails to me a week ago begging me not to go out or speak to anyone…children need reassurance at all levels.”
Lack of childcare
To find out more about Barnardos work during the COVID19 crisis visit www.barnardos.ie
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