It’s been over a year since the news of lockdown arrived and although we knew it meant the closure of shops and schools, none of us truly knew how much it would impact us all. For some, it meant learning to find comfort in the silence of their homes, for others it meant getting used to not working and staying at home with the children.
Then of course there were the many university students who had to get used to a new style of education by learning through Zoom.
But no matter what, we can all agree this pandemic has affected us whether it was in a bad way, a good way or even a mixture of both.
Now, after a long fourteen months of restrictions, lockdown and having to quarantine, the possibility of it coming to an end is increasing.
But what does that mean for all of us?
Already we can see the difference as restrictions started to be lifted a couple of months ago. The people who had to learn to live in their quiet homes now can have people to visit, even if it’s in their garden. And parents no longer have to struggle with home-schooling their children as schools are once again open. But now there is a new struggle with parents, and that’s keeping that bond that they’ve created with their child during the lockdown.
Parental engagement has changed a lot from pre-lockdown, during lockdown and post-lockdown. And therefore to be able to see how parental engagement is post-lockdown, we have to understand how it was at each stage.
In this blog we will be diving into how different parental engagement was/is:
- Before Lockdown
- During Lockdown
- After Lockdown
Parental engagement before lockdown
Every parent knows how important it is to be engaged in their child’s life, to be able to understand what they are learning at school and to see them grow independent. As stated in the Parent Engagement report, parents who have some sort of involvement in their child’s education help their child achieve the results that they want. Before lockdown hit us, it is clear that parents understood the importance of this role, they would attend parents’ evenings and many other events, such as the school play, sports day and other functions.
Pre-lockdown parent engagement was very much happening at schools – what we used to consider as ‘normal life’. Parents had the chance to talk to teachers face to face, and see the displays of all of the children’s wonderful work, including their own child’s as well as presentations, written work and other activities.
However, that all changed when the pandemic took over and everyone was told to shelter at home.
Parental engagement during lockdown
Stress and worry affected many parents when learning about the lockdown and how the government were shutting down schools. For many, they questioned how they were going to teach their children and balance work life.
At the start of the lockdown, there was a lot of adapting to do to find ease with this ‘new normal’, and eventually, parents were able to find their grip in all of this. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) discovered in their research that parents had to change their working patterns due to childcare commitments.
But then the furlough scheme was introduced and that added a lot of restrictions to families, as parents were twice as likely to be furloughed compared to people without children.
Now, not only did parents have to homeschool their children, they had to think twice about where the money went and not able to spend on such items as gadgets and toys, for example, to help their children during this tough time.
Although all of this struggle bought negativity to many families, there was a positive side to parents who were furloughed – they finally had more time to spend with their children. In the study that the government conducted for the ONS, they found that parents enjoyed developmental childcare more than non-developmental childcare.
Parents helping with homework and homeschooling increased by 167%, from 24 minutes to 64 minutes per day. This engagement raised as it was a way for parents to find out what their children were learning at school, and what kind of interests they had. Parents finally had more freedom than before, and they could put a lot more focus on creating an even closer bond with their children than they already had.
Parental engagement after lockdown
However, that all changed again in September 2020, when the government waved their green flag stating it was safe for children to attend school once again, and we all know how that went. Within a few months, face to face education had come to a halt as there was a new Covid variant making its way through England and many other countries.
Parents and children had to get used to upheaval and homeschooling once again.
Everyone had the feeling of having “been here before”, but the effect was harsher, with many parents saying they could not repeat this cycle again – i.e. being put into a lockdown, lifting restrictions and then being plunged back into the lockdown again.
Finally, however, children are now back at school, interacting with friends, learning everything they have missed, but most importantly gaining their deserved independence once again. On top of that, parents are finally able to put some focus on themselves again and work on their career if they choose to.
On the surface, everything seems great, and it appears that life is all going back to normal, however, that is until it hits you that there is something different.
There are no more children screaming for attention or teenagers asking a thousand questions, instead, there is finally some peace and quiet. However, during our time of getting used to this pandemic, we have all gotten slightly comfortable with shielding at home, and that what was normal over a year ago is actually really strange and unfamiliar.
During the lockdown, parental engagement increased and it helped many parents and children to have an even better bond. Research by the University of Essex found out that 40% of parents, who took time to look after their children during the lockdown, found that their relationship has improved.
It is understandable to then feel a slight worry about what could now happen to this bond. Students are back at school, while more and more parents are finding new jobs or able to return to their old job. Although this is fantastic as children are receiving the educational development that they need, and more parents are hopefully less stressed about finance than they were during the lockdown, all of this has taken time away from the bonding that parents and children have developed.
Many parents have felt this nostalgic feeling of missing their children and seeing them learn and gain independence right in front of their eyes, instead of at a distance.
This means there should be a way to move on from this and have a way where parents can still feel included with their child’s education. We can all see how important the role of the parent is especially during this lockdown, but it is much more than that. A parent bond with a child can help in many areas besides education, it can help them grow their independence and make children feel confident in developing their interests, whether it is in sports or academic work, science or art.
We can all see that Covid has impacted parent engagement a lot. Lockdown gave hope to many parents as it helped them be involved in their children’s education even more than before, but keeping that extra-close bond going now is a struggle, especially how parent engagement with schools is still more difficult to have than before.
Restrictions are still in place making it hard for parents to see all of these wonderful achievements that their child experiences, such as art exhibitions, even though students are still creating masterpieces.
There needs to be a way for parents to carry on building this bond with their child even after lockdown while everything slowly goes back to how it once was.
At Splento we are developing the Splento App to meet this need, making it easier for parents to keep up their engagement with their children, even after everything Covid has put families through.
The Splento App is available to try now – for free!
Hit the button below to try out Splento App for yourself and start sharing all your favourite photos with your family and friends, today!
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