Lockdown homeschooling creates strain between parents and children

Ria McGuire

Homeschooling during lockdown is putting a strain on relationships between parents and children, a survey has found. 

A recent survey organised by Red C on behalf of Mental Health Ireland finds parents are feeling added stress due to the challenge of homeschooling. 

In the survey, 1,028 responses from parents were recorded.

In the survey, it was found that 65 per cent of parents living in a rural area were feeling enhanced pressure and tension in regards to their relationship with their children while homeschooling. 

In comparison, 54 per cent of parents living in urban areas felt the strain, a nine per cent difference. 

“In a family where both parents work full time, having a six year old at home full time, with no friends to play with and no school to attend was tough” said parent, Jamie MacDonald.

“The associated worry that hangs over every child as to why they can’t live a normal life means that they have insecurity and anxiety creating a more needy and clingy little person,” MacDonald said.

The lockdown has caused parents to try to balance and alter work life with home life, with a third of parents saying their work ethic has deteriorated and 78 per cent of parents reporting increased stress levels due to this demanding workload. 

“Additionally as both parents try to juggle their child’s welfare friction is created between the couple as to who’s job deserves more time, who is busier, who did more for the child yesterday,” said Macdonald. 

The survey found there was a divide between parents about the online teaching styles available during lockdown.

A quarter of parents preferred Seesaw, an interactive teaching platform, while a quarter of parents favoured live lessons and a fifth of the respondents thought Zoom was the most beneficial.

Compare the anxiety of “are we doing enough? Is she falling behind? Is it damaging her mental health? Is she losing confidence or becoming insecure?’ said MacDonald. “With the fact that keeping her home reduces her risk of catching Covid and any associated complications she can get or that she can pass on to us or her granny.”

“Once the school got the online learning through zoom up and running it allowed interaction with teachers and friends and gave us as parents four hours of headspace to concentrate on our jobs,” said MacDonald.

With parents and children at home, there has been positive aspects to the lockdown.

“No commute, flexibility of hours, if you’re lucky enough to have a job that allows for this, so you can walk away and take your kid for a walk, watch a movie or just play in the back garden,” said MacDonald.

Ria McGuire 

Image credit: Andrew Neel on Unsplash