Fathers spending more time with kids amid pandemic: U.K. survey
TORONTO -- New research from the U.K suggests that the pandemic has led to fathers spending more time with their children and helping around the house more.
The U.K.-based Fatherhood Institute conducted an online survey involving 2045 dads in Britain during the first-wave lockdown restrictions between March and May 2020. With more dads working from home, the group found that 78 per cent of fathers were spending more time with their children.
Jeremy Davies, head of communications for the Fatherhood Institute, calls this "a really, really big social phenomenon."
"We found that fathers are spending much more time with the children, way more than is normal. In fact, going back as far as the industrial revolution, it would be difficult to find a time when men were spending so much time at home with their children," he told CTV News Channel on Sunday.
The survey also found that dads were more engaged with aspects of family life, from housework to homework help – tasks which would have normally fallen on mothers' laps. Around 73 per cent said they were spending more time on helping their kids with homework and 72 per cent said they were doing more cleaning, laundry and cooking.
"A lot of fathers in our survey said that they're understanding that partners better," said Davies.
"Because of the amount of time that fathers normally spend outside the home, either at work or traveling to work, a lot of the time, families end up deciding that this stuff needs to be done primarily by mum, and so this has been a real kind of change both, both for mothers and fathers."
But not all fathers have been fortunate enough to benefit from the pandemic, particularly fathers who work hold jobs in essential services and haven't been able to work from home.
"We did find that among the more disadvantaged fathers, the positive effects were reduced," said Davies.
In addition, 46 per cent of fathers who live apart from their children said that they saw their children less during the pandemic.
"Those were the dads who had the most negative mental health experiences during this period," Davies said."
Going forward, the Fatherhood Institute wants to see more employers offer more flexible working hours for fathers and take account of their caregiving commitments.
"I think there are lots of dads who struggle with their employers to get recognized for their fatherhood, and that's definitely a problem," Davies said.