Fifth of parents say kids ‘closed up since returning to school after lockdown’

A fifth of parents feel their kids have 'closed up' following their return to the classroom, a study has found.

The survey asked 1,000 parents of six to 16-year-olds about how their children felt during the lockdown.

More than two thirds felt their children spoke about their feelings more than ever during the lockdown period (64 per cent).

A similar number of parents believed family discussions were more open and honest than they previously were.

Just under half (48 per cent) were determined to keep these meaningful conversations following kids returning to school.

But 30 per cent are worried about spending less quality time with their children.

16 per cent of parents feel they have fewer conversations with their child now they're back in the classroom, with 44 per cent believing their youngster is too tired.

The research, commissioned by McCain as part of its Nation's Conversations report, found 38 per cent of parents feel mealtimes are more important than ever to talk to children.

Child psychologist Laverne Antrobus said: “As the everyday routines in British households continue to adapt to ever-changing circumstances, it’s unsurprising that families across the nation are worried about how to hold onto quality time together.

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“Now more than ever, mealtimes provide moments of stability and normality amidst so many changes to everyday life.

"If children are less vocal following their return to school, then dinner is the perfect time when parents can sit down with them and discuss their thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears.

“The research shows that the majority of parents are determined to keep meaningful conversation going, and mealtimes provide the perfect opportunity to sit together around the dinner table and facilitate this.”

Parents spent 16 hours of quality time each with their children, according to the study, which has now dropped down to 12 since they returned to school.

The study, carried out via OnePoll, also surveyed 1,000 six to 16-year-olds and found 61 per cent have missed spending time and talking to their parents since school started again.

Nine in 10 said they enjoy their family mealtimes, and 80 per cent look forward to using the time to catch up with their parents.

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