Research from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Royal Foundation shows loneliness among parents of young children has “dramatically increased” during the Covid-19 pandemic.
People who are in more deprived areas of the UK have felt the most cut off from support, due to more prevalent issues in these areas including homelessness and addiction. Kate Middleton, said that this year has been “hugely challenging” for families, with the report from the Royal Foundation getting 528,000 responses to the ‘Five Big Questions’ survey launched by the duchess. As well as this, further research was done with 3,700 people across the UK. The response to this survey is one of the biggest responses they’ve had to a survey in childhood.
For lone parents, the impact of the pandemic has hit even harder, with people struggling to find access to childcare and baby clinics. “I can’t describe the loneliness. Everything is on you,” says Rebecca Goatley, a lone parent, living in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, with her three year old son. But, with schools remaining open during the second lockdown, it has meant that parents haven’t had to worry as much about childcare during the day, as many people have now returned to work. But with families used to spending lots of time at home during the pandemic, this slow return to normality is bound to affect people not only mentally, but physically as well. Before the pandemic, 38% of parents with young children reported feelings of loneliness, compared with 63% after the impact of Covid-19 (BBC). It was made even harder for parents, as they felt isolated from their friends and family due to the restrictions.
Parents find themselves constantly under emotional pressure to make sure their children are doing well and remain in education. The duchess believes that the first five years of a child’s life is very important, as we are raising the next generation of adults. However, the duchess made it clear that many parents don’t always recognise or think about this, as she says “just one in four recognise the specific importance of the first five years of a child’s life”. Lots of parents think there should’ve been more of a focus on children during lockdown and the effects it had on them, as they were trapped inside for so long before schools were allowed to reopen. When the pandemic finally begins to ease, it is hopeful that mental health improves for parents and they feel as though they have more support from the community.