‘Pandemic Parenting’ Has Reshaped the Workforce, Survey Shows

Photo of a young boy being homeschooled by his mother in his bedroom.
AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

From rearranging work schedules to helping with remote learning, “pandemic parenting” has been reshaping the workforce.

A new GOBankingRates survey finds that a staggering 54% of parents with children under 10 had to adjust their work hours or their job status in some capacity due to childcare.

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Breaking down the figure further, the survey notes that 41% of parents with children under 18 said they had to adjust their work situation due to childcare. In addition, 37% of parents with an adult offspring living them said they had to re-arrange their work schedule. On the other hand, only 19% of parents with no children at home had to make work adjustments and the figure falls to 12% for respondents who say they are “not a parent.”

“The data shows that many parents have had to cut back hours, and some two-parent households now have one parent at home full-time who is no longer working because the children need full-time care with school and daycare not being a part of the equation for a very long time,” Carter Seuthe, Credit Summit CEO tells GOBankingRates.  “This has put a strain on all families in various ways, and I think we’ll continue to see the data reflect this. Going from a dual-income household to one is never an easy adjustment, even if you’re cutting out daycare costs. Households are also spending much more on food and household goods than normal with children home all day.”

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Andrew Murray, GOBankingRates content data researcher, also weighed in on the findings. 

“This makes perfect logical sense, those kids 10 and under cannot be left on their own to supervise themselves and if you are a single parent or in a household where a work from home option was not made available to you it makes perfect sense that over half of those parents with a child under 10 had to make adjustments to their work schedule due to childcare,” Murray says. 

Another key finding of the survey is that 47% of parents with at least one child under 18 living with them lost their job at some point during the pandemic, and the figure is rather similar, at 46%, for those with a child under 10.

“This is one of the more sobering and chilling data points from this survey,” Murray says. “To think nearly half of the respondents with children under 10 and half of respondents with children under 18 lost their jobs at some point. How scary that must’ve been to know you had children to feed and take care of and potentially no income.”

Also sobering is the survey’s finding that 29% of parents with at least one child under 10 at home lost their job during COVID and are still unemployed.

Read More: 22% of Americans Who Lost Their Jobs During the Pandemic Remain Unemployed, Survey Reveals

“That’s an alarmingly high number,” GOBankingRates associate researcher Julia O’Brien says. “This is most likely caused by there not being enough childcare options for the respondent to go back to work. Even if there was an employment opportunity if you are a single parent how are you supposed to go back to work if you have a child under 10 at home who can’t watch themselves and no school is open.”

To put these figures in context, only 30% of “not a parent” respondents say they lost their job during the pandemic, and 29% of respondents with no children at home say they lost their jobs. Of these, 22% and 20%, respectively, say they are still unemployed.

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In terms of whether overall spending has increased during the pandemic, 45% of parents of kids under 10 say their spending increased.

“Kids are expensive! And having kids in the house 24/7 will lead to more purchases whether it be needing more groceries for snacks/lunches, supplies for virtual learning, or just buying more toys and or games for the child who can no longer go to school or congregate with all their friends,” GOBankingRates’ Murray says.

To compare, the figure decreased to 21.45% for respondents who are not parents and to 15% for parents with no children at home.

Finally, the survey also addresses schooling options, whether virtual, in-person or hybrid learning.  

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The survey notes that 65% of those with children under 10 said that at some point their children participated in virtual learning, while 59% of those with children under 18 said their children participated in virtual learning.

“Compared to a hybrid model, learning pods, or in class 5 days a week, virtual learning is by far the safest in terms of COVID spreading and also the least complicated option if not in class 5 days a week,” O’Brien says. 

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
‘Pandemic Parenting’ Has Reshaped the Workforce, Survey Shows
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