A new study has revealed that almost half of parents saw their mental health impacted negatively after trying to balance remote working with childcare during the pandemic.
Sherpa Kids - which provides on-site after-school childcare services to children aged between four and 12 in more than 50 primary schools - conducted the research and is now calling for greater recognition and investment in childcare for kids attending school.
The 'No child left behind: reforming school-age childcare' report outlines findings from a survey on Irish parents’ experiences of childcare during lockdown.
The report states that 80 percent of parents said their child’s routine had been affected by Covid-19. A total of 67 percent of parents reported an impact on their child’s education while 59 percent complained of a strain on their own mental health.
Almost half of those surveyed said they would be availing of mental health services for their child when they returned to school.
The findings emerge almost two months after the Department of Children and Youth Affairs announced a doubling of the current €574 million funding for all childcare by 2028. However, the organisation argues that this was still not enough and failed to make the distinction between early years care and childcare for schoolchildren.
Managing Director of Sherpa Kids Ireland, John Miles said it is likely that homeschooling will still be a reality for some parents.
“Over the last eight months, working parents have been asked to function as part-time teachers," he said.
"As individual schools and classes are closed to contain virus outbreaks, it is likely that this will continue. Intuitively, we know that parents cannot be fully professionally productive while also providing a quality education to their children, who need routine and structure in clearly demarcated home and school lives.
"A fully funded school-age childcare sector can provide work-from-home parents with the space they need to be fully productive, which will benefit the country’s economic recovery, and give children the creative, social, and mental health supports they need during the pandemic and later in life.”