The Surprising Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Families

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COVID-19 has rocked everyone's world. Parents everywhere have had new worries arise about health, school, work, and finances. Caring for and raising a family is challenging enough—throwing a global pandemic into the mix definitely complicates things. It’s brought moms, dads, and kids home, leaving parents to not only take care of normal household duties, but to parent and teach their kids while keeping up with work


At Huggable, we care about the effects of these strange times on families’ lives, health, and emotions. So we conducted a survey of 538 mothers, all with children under 3 years old, to discover the impacts they've experienced from these interesting developments. Fortunately, many of our findings were positive, and we want to share this encouraging information with the readers of Funky Frugal Mommy

Moms are spending more time with their children

Due to office, school, and daycare closures, and a general effort to stay home more often, moms are spending an average of 49% more time with their young kids—a jump from 7.8 hours a weekday to 11.7. That's huge! 


Full-time working moms have seen the most significant change in this department, going from 6.4 hours a day to 10.3 for a 60% increase in time spent with their children. By comparison, typical stay-at-home moms showed a 37% increase, previously spending 10 hours a day with their children, and now getting 13.7 hours with their kids each day. 

Moms' and children's relationships are improving

Our first findings may not be very surprising—most people have been spending more time at home in recent months. But we also wanted to know if this change was a positive one. Little ones need a lot of love and attention, and being home with them all day can be overwhelming. We wanted to know how our survey respondents felt about the change. 


As it turns out, 63% of moms reported a slight to significant improvement in their relationships with their children. That increase was slightly higher for full-time working moms—67%—and slightly less for stay-at-home moms—56%. Respondents attributed this to the ability to play more together, complete household tasks together, and less time commuting throughout the day. Moms who usually work outside the home appreciated the fact that they can now breastfeed their infants more often, rather than having to pump at work. 


In addition, moms noticed siblings building relationships as they work and play together. They also appreciated the fact that dads are spending more time with kids, too—playing with them during work breaks, eating meals with them, and taking on more household tasks, as well. 

Effects of These Changes on Children 

While the events of 2020 have placed emotional strain on many of us, including children, our survey also revealed some benefits kids have reaped as a result of more time with their families and improved relationships. For example, being home while parents are working has helped children develop the skills of independent play and creativity in activities. Having more conversations together has improved their language development. Less time in the car or at school has resulted in more outdoor physical activity and gross motor development (in fact, working from home has allowed some parents to be present for kids’ big milestones, like taking their first steps). And finally, though many worry about the anxiety children are feeling around COVID-19, in fact the research shows hopeful signs of their building resilience through these difficult times. 

Conclusion

While these findings are encouraging, we acknowledge the heartache and grief so many are experiencing right now. Families have lost loved ones. Others have lost income and are struggling to save money and make ends meet. Essential workers have taken on additional burdens—many spending more time away from their families—to help communities with various needs such as medical, grocery, mail delivery, and public safety. We appreciate the services, sacrifices, and struggles of people everywhere during this pandemic.


We also wish to share hope—to show that even in the face of great challenges, people can be resilient, courageous, and even optimistic. Families are spending more time together and growing closer bonds to pull each other through this. There is some light to be found, even in the midst of the darkness. 

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