Action for Children has launched a new service to support parents.
More than a third of parents say the coronavirus lockdown has left their children isolated and lonely, a new survey has revealed.
The YouGov poll for Action for Children found 36% of parents were dealing with feelings of social isolation in their children, with many affected by sleeplessness or anxiety.
A further 33% of parents said they felt “out of their depth” when it came to supporting their children during lockdown, while 43% said they themselves had suffered from anxiety.
Even with restrictions easing around the UK, parents are fearful about the months of uncertainty ahead. Over one in three (37%) said they were worried their children will struggle to socialise and want to remain at home.
Parents reported instances of children bedwetting, struggling to eat and being unwilling to leave the house. In some cases, children were even said to be scared of people outside their home.
Action for Children is warning things are likely to get worse as the long term impacts of the pandemic become clearer. The charity has reported a 415% surge in demand during the lockdown, and ha snow launched a new service – Parent Talk – to connect families and carers with trained parenting coaches. The confidential one-to-one online chat service gives parents somewhere to turn for free, practical advice and emotional support.
The charity is also urging politicians to prioritise children’s mental health in the Covid recovery planning, and to provide adequate funding to meet the surge in need feared in the months ahead.
Lynn Giles, Parent Talk manager at Action for Children, said: “The pandemic has triggered a crisis for mums, dads and children on an unprecedented scale, with parents feeling overwhelmed without their usual support from friends and family, or any certainty for the future.
“Huge numbers of children will need extra support over the coming months and parents are telling us they don’t know where to turn. As the immediate health crisis passes we now need to turn our attention to the scars coronavirus has left on families struggling with a whole new reality - with many grieving from having lost loved ones, and others worrying about their jobs and their futures.
“With so many mums and dads in desperate need of guidance, a service like Parent Talk is needed now more than ever. Our parent coaches are there for any questions parents have – big or small. Anyone who needs a bit of support in these tough times can go to parent-talk.org.uk."