Parents talk about their childcare challenges during the coronavirus pandemic

We asked parents how they are managing childcare in the current situation.

Mother holding her child - childcare challenges


Nearly a third of parents are working around childcare in an effort to manage work during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a poll.

  • 29% of parents are working around childcare
  • 18% say they are relying on support from family
  • 2% are using informal networks of friends
  • 20% are using paid childcare
  • 7% a mix of different approaches

Twenty-four per cent are resorting to other methods, for instance, working through the night while looking after their children during the day.

The poll was posted just before the lockdown, but most results have come through since the lockdown.

Many mums and dads who both work from home are dividing childcare shifts between them. One mum commented that she was sharing childcare with her husband, “for the first time (ever!)”.

The poll threw up lots of anxiety among parents around childcare and lots of confusion about government policy – and a lot of stress as parents try to manage working and childcare simultaneously.

One grandmother said: “Not sure what to do so not having the children at the moment, but my daughter is unable to get her work done with a one year and a three year old.”

Key workers are facing particular challenges and are worried about whether healthy grandparents under 70 can look after their children, about affording childcare if not, about available childcare not covering the hours they need, about parents living with them who are vulnerable and much, much more.

A common problem generally is parents taking unpaid time off due to lack of childcare and how long this can be done for and whether there is any financial support if the lockdown lasts several months.

One mum wrote: “Work are making things impossible for me, they will not allow unpaid leave, although I can take holiday this will not cover the period of time the schools will be closed. Feeling stressed.”

Another said simply: “I am working at home with a one year old and four year old – my husband is a key worker . It’s impossible.”

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