Survey finds that COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated burnout; more than half of American parents have less interest in managing their child’s learning this school year
August 31, 2021 – Parents of the country’s youngest students are already exhausted heading into the school year, according to a survey released today by playlearning™ app Lingokids. The survey, which asked parents of children ages 2-8 about their mental wellbeing and plans for the new school year, presents new data that nearly 60% of American parents are experiencing parental burnout and 64% believe the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the burnout they feel. Half of parents surveyed reported negative impacts to their mental health due to the pandemic including experiencing exhaustion (50%) and increased stress (52%) with a sizable amount reporting they experienced anxiety (45%) and depression (41%).
Described as a form of physical and emotional exhaustion, parental burnout is a feeling so intense that parents who were once operating at a high-functioning level found themselves struggling to show interest when their children want to show or talk to them about something.
As a result of this burnout, more than half of parents reported that they have less interest in directly managing their child’s learning this year (52%). Similarly, 53% of parents say they currently feel guilty about their level of involvement with their child’s learning. This is timed with children across the country starting yet another unprecedented school year.
Parental worry heading into the new school year
While they navigate this burnout and guilt, parents also have hesitations about their children returning to learning. The top three cited concerns about the new school year include:
- 59% are worried about the confusion around the impacts that the COVID-19 variants will have on schooling
- 47% are concerned that their child doesn’t learn well with restrictions like remote learning, masks or social distancing
- 46% believe there is a lack of social outlets for their child or children due to pandemic-related restrictions
Reflecting on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic to their families
Parents were asked to reflect on their greatest challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many cited that it’s been tough balancing work with childcare (52%), maintaining interest in learning for their child (43%) and managing remote learning schedules (42%).
Families are proactively making changes to cope with stressors
To prevent further burnout, parents are making some positive changes this school year.
- 55% say they will identify ways for their child/children to spend time by themselves so they can focus on self care
- 49% said they will identify better household routines to be more resilient; with nearly 30% saying they have a routine and they’re not great at following it
- 44% said they will find fun, turnkey options to supplement child’s learning such as games or apps
- 45% said they will create more outlet for creativity to improve their family’s mental health
Tips to Avoid Burnout:
In a recent Lingokids #PositiveParenting Series, the team tackled the subject of Parental Burnout with Dr. Ashurina Ream, @psychedmommy, a clinical psychologist specializing in perinatal mental health focusing on the issues that occur during pregnancy, post-partum, and beyond.
“Parental burnout is extreme exhaustion based on this idea that we have a prolonged period of stress that we’re experiencing and it’s increasing to where we feel like we don’t have the adequate resources to cope with everything going on around us” said Dr. Ream, “I once read a study that said it impacts about 14% of parents, my guess is that this has doubled or even tripled since the pandemic.”
The hosts discussed the importance of incorporating the Three S’s – space, support, self-compassion – into their daily routine. Examples of incorporating the Three S’s into everyday life include: taking time to go outside of your family for yourself, tagging in a friend or family member for assistance, and being kind to yourself when you decide to prioritize your own needs. With consistency being key in incorporating these practices into their daily life, Dr. Ream encouraged parents to measure how they feel when they are taking time to decompress and to take note of what activities make them feel better and result in better parenting.
To prevent parental burnout, Dr. Ream expressed the importance of finding creative ways to meet your needs. “Ask yourself how you can beef up your resources and find ways to offload these demands and find people in your circle who can help you.” she said, “You’re not doing yourself any favors with the I can do it myself attitude.”
Additionally, the hosts expressed that tools such as Lingokids do not only help in moments of parental burnout but also establish a sense of independence in children during those moments of independent play. Dr. Ream stressed that parents should rely on the resources at hand without any feeling of shame or guilt.
As Lingokids continues to provide resources for children, parents, and caregivers with relevant topics throughout unprecedented times, stay tuned for Lingokids’ #PositiveParenting Series by following @Lingokids on Instagram and Facebook. To watch the complete webisode, click HERE.