26 September 2023

Research finds home-school stresses parents

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Parents and caregivers who home-schooled children during the pandemic experienced significantly higher levels of psychological distress compared to those who did not, according to a new study from the Australian National University (ANU).

Researcher at ANU’s Centre for Mental Health Research, Alison Calear said the study asked more than 1,200 Australian adults to report on their psychological well-being during the first wave of COVID-19 restrictions in March and April 2020.

Professor Calear said parents who were home-schooling also experienced greater disruption to their work and social lives.

“During home-schooling, parents were so stretched,” she said.

“They were often trying to do their full-time job, as well as keeping their kids on track, as well as still doing everything else they have to do around the house.

“Their ability to actually have down time, which might reduce their stress levels, was taken away.”

Professor Calear said that in addition to these stressors, most caregivers could not rely on their usual social networks for support.

“You couldn’t have grandparents helping out for example, or take your kids to a friend’s house.”

She said the results offered validation for parents and carers who struggled with home-schooling.

“What they were feeling was real,” Professor Calear said.

“This analysis was done during the first wave of the pandemic, my suspicion is the distress levels would be even higher now.”

The Researcher said it was important for employers to be aware of the toll that home schooling could take on people and there was a lot that could be done to better support parents.

“It can be as simple as knowing there is flexibility and appreciation for what parents are doing,” Professor Calear said.

The eight-page study can be accessed at this PS News link.

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