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Lockdown offers dads increased family time

44% of dads spent 25 hours or more homeschooling or playing with their children during the 2021 lockdown, according to a new study.

Each year Fathers Network Scotland asks families in Scotland about how they’re doing. Last year they surveyed dads about their experiences of the first lockdown. 

60% of dads said lockdown had positively impacted on their relationships with their children and over half told researchers that they wanted to change the way they parent in future.

Fathers across the country said that they wanted to be as involved as possible in their children’s lives. Comments from survey respondents included:

I’m now able to do the school run everyday and feel much more involved in my children’s lives. I’ve been able to plan home schooling around my job. I very much hope there isn’t a return to normal.

I now have a much stronger understanding of our daughter’s needs thanks to being able to spend more quality time with her.

It’s been good to spend time helping my kids with home learning, sharing triumphs and setbacks. Stuff that I would miss out on when the 9-5 is in full swing.

You don’t normally get so much time with a four or five year old. I cherish the time I have had with my child. It has given us a strong relationship.

67% of dads say the experience of living through the pandemic has changed the way they would like to parent in the future, with an increased emphasis on work life balance, involvement in their children’s learning and some now seeking alternative employment with better hours so they can spend more time with their kids.

However, with two-thirds of fathers saying that their mental health had suffered due to the pressures of juggling work and home life, campaigners are calling for action.

Fathers Network Scotland claims that while Scottish Government policy increasingly reflects a new family friendly working life, in reality a cultural lag means fathers often remain invisible or ignored when it comes to children and family services, childcare, education and health.

The charity argues that legislation on flexible working and shared parental leave will only benefit dads once employers stop seeing children and parenting as the preserve of women and dads feel it’s okay not to be the traditional long hours breadwinner.

Image: Fathers Network Scotland

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