Earlier this week, on Tuesday 26th January, The Duchess of Cambridge spoke to three parents, whose children attend Roe Green Junior School in Brent, about their experiences of homeschooling and parenting during the pandemic.
During the call, the group spoke about the challenges that many families are continuing to face during the third lockdown in the UK. They discussed the importance of prioritising parents’ mental wellbeing during this difficult time, and the direct connection this has on that of their children’s mental health.
The conversation built on some of the key issues that were raised in The Duchess’ landmark survey on the Early Years, which was commissioned by The Royal Foundation and conducted by Ipsos MORI, including parental wellbeing and loneliness. The research, which was released last November, revealed that parents struggle to prioritise their own wellbeing, in spite of the fact that 90% see parental mental health and wellbeing as being critical to a child’s development. Click here to read the report in full.
On the call, Nicole Seidemann, a mother of four, talked about how exercise has been critical to maintaining her mental wellbeing, while parents Musadiq Subar and Rajana Panchani reiterated the critical value of peer support for parents during this tricky time. The group also talked about the increase in parental loneliness, which was documented by our November research on the Early Years, as rising dramatically during the pandemic from 38% before to 63% as parents have been cut off from friends and family.
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Headteacher of the primary school attended by these parents’ children, Melissa Loosemore, asked the group a series of quick fire questions such as ‘Describe parenting in a pandemic in one word’, ‘Rate your maths ability out of 10’, and ‘Who has been the greatest support to you during the pandemic?’, all of which drove conversations about the challenges involved in remote learning, as well as the positive side of spending more quality time with children.
Roe Green Junior School is where The Royal Foundation and The Duchess launched our Mentally Healthy Schools programme in 2018, and is currently open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children, and are providing remote learning for all its pupils at home, including a blended approach with daily online ‘Meets’, independent learning and other activities.
Mentally Healthy Schools was launched in 2018 by The Royal Foundation and The Duchess of Cambridge as a legacy of our Heads Together campaign, and in partnership with the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Place2Be and Young Minds. It is a free and easy to use website for school teachers and staff, drawing together hundreds of reliable and practical resources to improve awareness, knowledge and confidence in promoting and supporting pupils’ mental health.
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“I know how challenging it is juggling work, home life, school life and everything else that you as parents are doing, so really well done. Fingers crossed, let’s hope for the positivity as you’ve all been saying. Make sure everyone looks after themselves – it’s very hard to prioritise but it’s definitely needed now more than ever.”
THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGEVisit Mentally Healthy Schools