2 out of 3 employees who have kids observed frustration and anxiety in children during the pandemic
Approximately 67% of employees who are parents have noticed frustration and anxiety in children in the last year due to the pandemic, according to a survey conducted between June 1-7 by the Undelucram.ro platform. Also, for many children, playing on phones/tablets and watching TV were the main ways to spend their spare time, 42% of children spending between 2-5 hours a day on screens, outside the school hours.
For this survey, 1,047 parent employees responded between June 1-7. The children of the employees who answered the survey are: 0-5 years old (31.4%), 6-10 years old (38.6%), 11-15 years old (15.7%) and over 16 years old (14, 3%). Also, 60% of respondents have one child, 37% have two children, and the remaining 3% have more than two children.
The main challenge for parent employees during the pandemic: focusing on job tasks
Parents stated that the main challenges during the pandemic while working from home and children learning online were: focusing on job tasks (for 33.5% of respondents), children’s irritability due to lack of socialization and boredom (31.2 %), providing the necessary support for learning and homework (24.4%), providing food and cleaning (for 4% of employees).
“Both I and some of my colleagues lived as parents all the challenges of combining work with homeschooling. So we decided to ask the employed parents in our community about how they felt in the last 15 months. The most important thing we all need to understand is that first we are
human and then we are employees. And each of us has other roles in personal life and parenting is a full-time job from which we cannot «escape». We are glad to see that an essential part of our clients pays more and more attention to this aspect, thinking about the employee experience from the perspective of a parent’s needs”, says Andra Pintican, marketing director of Undelucram.ro.
67% of employees noticed frustration and anxiety in their children
On the other hand, the biggest challenges for children during the pandemic were: lack of socialization (45% of parents considered it), the difficulty of understanding lessons taught online (23%), the difficulty of understanding the situation and the emotions generated by it (18.6 %) and the lack of communication in the family (5.8%).
Regarding the children’s emotional states, 67% of the parent employees say they noticed forms of anxiety and frustration during the pandemic. On the other hand, 18% say they have seen emotional stability, and 10% noticed calm and relaxation.
22% of children spent more than five hours a day on screens, except the online classes
About 60% of parents say that during the pandemic, children spent 50% more time on screens, and 28% said that children spent 10-50% more time on screens during the same period. On the other hand, 13% of employees said that children spent as much time as before on tablets and phones during the pandemic because they had a strict schedule of access to such devices.
Thus, 42% of children spent between 2-5 hours a day on screens, except the online classes. In addition, 36% of kids spent maximum two hours on screens and 22% spent more than five hours a day on tablets and phones, outside online school hours.
“Screen exposure affects sleep quality, desensitizes the brain’s reward system (which makes children no longer attracted to environmental activities), overstimulates the sensory system, prevents voluntary attention and reduces the child’s physical activity and contact with nature. Children have difficulty being aware of what is happening here and now. Research shows that time spent in nature can improve attention, reduce stress and anxiety. Also, certain parts of the brain may develop more slowly. Language can be significantly affected: the ability to write, read, and understand language decreases. There are delays in the development of socio-emotional skills. The ability to trade socially, ambition, concentration, and tolerance for frustration results from face-to-face interaction”, explains the psychotherapist Geta Udrea.
Online games – the primary way to spend free time for 28% of children
Children spent their spare time during the pandemic by playing online games (28% of parents’ answers), through various hobbies (18%), reading books (15.6%), hiking (13.2%) ), through video meetings with friends/colleagues (12%) and extra school online courses (12%).
About 28% of parents will send their children in a camp during the summer holiday to compensate for the lack of socialization in the last year.
Tips from psychologist Geta Udrea for parents:
- Encourage children to socialize: spend time with friends, colleagues, go out in the park.
- To encourage children to do extracurricular activities: to help them develop their hobbies (dance, theater, painting), to do sports activities. Children need organization. That is why they need to have a schedule of the day that they know – this makes them feel safe.
- To spend quality time together: playing board games, organizing a movie night, a dance night.
- Be an example of following the rules of the house: limiting your time spent on technology (do not use technology at meals, at least one hour before going to bed)
- To develop their independence and belonging by giving them daily tasks, administrative tasks in the house.
- Have healthy habits/rules and be a role model for the child: having family meals, reading time, playtime, talking time, cooking together.
- Have open conversations about the benefits and effects of screen-time.
- To create a space where the child feels safe – a space where the child can talk openly about what he feels, about his perspective, to feel that he can live his emotions. It is crucial to let the children feel what they feel, encourage them to feel and show them that it is OK to feel that emotions are normal.
- Involve children in decision-making. It is essential to listen and encourage them, to let them come up with ideas. Very often, the ideas can be excellent
- Parents should be in touch with children, with their behavior and needs, to be authentic and to set limits.