Lockdown – what’s happening to us?

Lockdown – what’s happening to parents & carers?

Recent research published 19.01.2021, from the University of Oxford reveals what parents already knew – that their stress and anxiety levels have risen during the lockdown.

Participating parents and carers reported an increase in symptoms such as: difficulty in relaxing, being easily upset or agitated, feeling hopeless, and lacking interest and pleasure, feeling fearful and worried, as well as being more irritable, over-reactive and impatient.

“Our data highlights the particular strains felt by parents during lockdown when many feel that they have been spread too thin by the demands of meeting their children’s needs during the pandemic, along with home-schooling and work commitments.” Cathy Creswell, Professor of Developmental Clinical Psychology, University of Oxford.

36% of parents with young children (10 years or younger) reported being “substantially worried” about their children’s behaviour.

45% of parents with secondary-age children said they were worried about their children’s education and future.

Lockdown – what’s happening to children?

Parents and carers of 4-10 year old children reported that over a one-month period in lockdown, they saw deterioration in their child’s emotional state, such as feeling unhappy, worried, being clingy and experiencing physical symptoms associated with worry.

According to early results the Oxford University Co-SPACE study shows that primary age children are experiencing increases in the areas below:

  • Emotional difficulties
  • Behavioural difficulties
  • Restlessness & attention difficulties

This research is tracking children and young people’s mental health throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

The Co-SPACE (COVID-19 Supporting Parents, Adolescents, and Children in Epidemics) survey is still open and keen for parents and carers to share their experiences. Click here and take part.

Lockdown – what’s happening in schools?

Increased anxiety in pupils has emerged as a challenge, according to many primary and secondary school leaders.

School leaders report that the reasons for pupils’ anxiety were related to the pandemic.

“Some were anxious about catching the virus and infecting their households, while some were anxious about having to self-isolate and being unable to come into school. Leaders reported that pupils in Years 11, 12 and 13 were particularly anxious about the uncertainty of exams.”

Many leaders were concerned about the social and emotional impact that the time out of school had had on their pupils, especially those with special educational needs and disabilities SEND.

Extracts from Ofsted’s COVID-19 series: Third briefing note. School visits between 2nd & 24th November 2020.

Lockdown – what can we do to protect our children?

It’s like being in an airplane in an emergency! The instructions are to put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others.

In other words, we need to protect ourselves in advance. We will be less able to help our children build a positive mindset if we allow negativity and anxiety to infiltrate our mind.

WE HAVE TO BE STRONG. We need to remain positive, because our thoughts and emotions can infect our children, good or bad.

If the adults in their surroundings are generally worried about Covid, and if they are lacking in feelings of self-confidence, and if they convey these to the child, then the child will sense these feelings in the adults and they may feel the same.” Chris Parkin, Occupational Psychologist 

Lockdown – how do we stay positive?

There is no magic pill, commitment and effort are required. It’s about training yourself to think constructive thoughts rather than focusing on the negative, therefore instilling a positive state-of-mind over time.

Support groups, coaches, and counsellors will help and so can Mindscreen according to several mums who recently worked through the programme with their children.

“I am finding it as useful as my son.” Kristie Prada, mum to her 8-year-old son


“Fantastic lesson and I learned a lot about dispelling my own self-limiting beliefs.” Leyla Preston, mum to her 8- & 9-year-old boys


“I’m very impressed so far with the lessons being really helpful, not just for my son, but actually for myself too.” Jen Mellor, mum to her 14-year-old son 

I know it’s a blatant plug but…

Professional support may not be an option because of financial constraints or other restrictions under COVID, so why not use Mindscreen? There’s no need to leave home, it’s affordable, and you and your children will feel better for it.

P.S. You may also like this post about how to positively influence children’s well-being

Is Low Self-Esteem Affecting Your Child's Potential?

Find out with our free 5-minute check

(assess your child without involving them)

Helping Children Flourish

Gav Devereux

Author bio

Being labelled remedial and regularly told that I was a “stupid boy” affected my self-esteem as a child. I had to work hard to prove to myself that there was nothing wrong with me! This journey led me to found Mindscreen and become a certified behavioural and motivational analyst. My personal experience drove me to develop resources to help children find their stride early in life.

Since then I’ve been involved in many youth projects, including the Scottish National Debate on Education, Columba 1400’s Head Teacher Leadership Academy, and the Entrepreneurial Spirit Project.

I’m honoured to have helped hundreds of young people to recognise their own strengths and unlock their potential.