Three quarters of parents have developed a closer bond with their children because of lockdown

Marie Claire Dorking
·4-min read
Eating together as a family is one of the things parents have enjoyed doing more of. (Getty Images)
Eating together as a family is one of the things parents have enjoyed doing more of. (Getty Images)

There’s little doubt coronavirus lockdown has been a challenging time for many families.

But while many parents have struggled to juggle WFH with childcare commitments, while also developing an unpaid side hustle as an emergency supply teacher, it seems there has been an upside of the lockdown in terms of family relationships.

According to new research, commissioned by JOHNSON’S Baby, three quarters of parents believe the situation has helped them develop a closer bond with their children.

That doesn’t mean the additional roles parents have seen themselves taking on haven’t taken a toll, however, with two thirds (67%) admitting that lockdown and their related experience has left them feeling more pressure.

But while there have been difficulties, the increased time spent together at home has also given families time to bond.

This has led to 74% feeling they have a stronger relationship with their children now than they did before.

Read more: How coronavirus measures may be affecting children's mental health

Two thirds (67%) of parents have experienced at least one of their child’s milestone moments that they would have otherwise missed, including first words, smiles, crawls, laughs, meals and bike rides.

And seeing their child’s development in real time was one of the lockdown silver linings highlighted by 46% of parents, who might ordinarily have relied on video and picture captures of their child’s special moments.

The research looked at the positive impact that past few months have had on parenting and the key learnings parents will be taking back into the new normal with them.

Parents also believe coronavirus lockdown has had a knock-on impact on their parenting skills.

Thanks to a spike in family time during lockdown the top three traits parents have learnt are to be more patient (67%), more kind (32%) and more gentle (32%).

There’s been a benefit to parents taking on the role of home schooler too, with 43% saying they now feel more confident in the role of teacher than they did since lockdown began.

Read more: Heartwarming moment nurse was able to hold her two-year-old son after 11 weeks apart

Parents have reported enjoying the increased family time during lockdown. (Getty Images)
Parents have reported enjoying the increased family time during lockdown. (Getty Images)

The survey, of 1,505 parents, also found that mealtimes have become a special time for the family to come together.

Almost two thirds (65 per cent) have enjoyed lunchtimes together while 50 per cent have taken the time for breakfasts and 42 per cent have sat down together for family evening meals.

That contrasts to findings revealed earlier this year and pre-lockdown which found less than a third of families were gathering together for their evening meal.

With further pre-lockdown research revealing only 20% of UK families got together to eat throughout the week and almost a third admitting they sat in silence at dinner time.

Read more: Children will miss the outdoors after lockdown, research suggests

British Olympic hero Tom Daley is among the whopping 88% of dads who have experienced more bonding time with their child because of lockdown.

The diving champion, who is father to one-year-old Robbie, said: “Being out of our usual routine can be really daunting and hard to navigate for everyone.

“For me, this is the longest time in my career that I’ve been away from training.

"However, if this situation has taught me anything, it is the importance of family and time together.

“I’ve spent so much more time with Robbie learning about what he likes and doesn’t and bath times have become our thing, I love watching him playing with the bubbles and splashing around.”

Commenting on the findings Lauren Capron, from JOHNSON’S Baby, said: “This research definitely illustrates some of the positives which have come out of being in lockdown.

“Whatever the age of the child, these results will be relatable for all parents.

“Whether you have a baby or toddler and have been lucky enough to be there when they’ve made a development such as rolling over or saying a first word.

“Or whether you’re the parent of a teen who would usually be out and about with mates, rather than sitting down to dinner with you.

“If there is one thing we can take away from this forced time at home, it’s the importance of quality time together, and a bond that will last a lifetime.”

Read more: Outdoor toys and games to keep children entertained

The top five silver linings’ and learnings from parents’ lockdown experience

1. The importance of spending time with my family all together (56%)
2. Having the opportunity to bond more with my child (51%)
3. The importance of slowing down and taking time to appreciate what I've got (48%)
4. Seeing my children's development in real time (46%)
5. To be more gentle/put less pressure on myself as a parent (25%)

Additional reporting SWNS.