The Lockdown Dad - We asked dads how they're coping
It’s no secret that the past few weeks (precisely the last 9) have been pretty unreal compared to what we’ve experienced in the past: rationed supermarket items, social distancing and, perhaps, the craziest of them all, no bog roll available. ANYWHERE.
In Britain, we’ve been spending most of our time at home, attempting to keep children entertained, home school them and keep them active – both physically and mentally. But what have DADS’ roles in all of this been? How have they contributed to this new family life in lockdown and what have they learnt from it? And, ultimately, have family dynamics and father-children relationships changed as a result? In an attempt to celebrate dads in the leadup to Father’s Day and recognise their family roles , we’ve polled over 2,400 dads up and down the country for a glimpse into their lives under lockdown. Here’s what they told us (do stick with us ‘till the end - you won’t regret it!)
FOREWORD - THE SAMPLE
SPENDING TIME TOGETHER AS A FAMILY DURING LOCKDOWN
1 in 3 dads have been spending more time with kids due to WFH.
1 in 10 dads have spent less physical time with their children as they’ve left the nest but have spent longer on calls and video calls.
1 in 12 dads have spent less time with children due to working longer hours.
“I have spent less time with them as they live with the other parent/carer and I wasn’t able to visit them”
WHAT DADS HAVE BEEN DOING MORE OF WITH THEIR CHILDREN UNDER LOCKDOWN:
LOCKDOWN WITH THE FAMILY DIDN’T COME WITHOUT A CHALLENGE OR TWO FOR DADS:
BUT THEY’VE FOUND MANY WAYS TO OVERCOME THEM:
DISCOVERING PLENTY OF JOYS ALONG THE WAY:
AND BONDING MORE WITH THEIR CHILDREN IN THE PROCESS (OVER A LONG LIST OF ACTIVITIES):
THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS HAVE ALSO BEEN A PERIOD OF SURPRISING DISCOVERIES FOR DADS, RESULTING IN A CHANGED PERSPECTIVE ON FAMILY LIFE:
TOP LOCKDOWN LEARNINGS FOR DADS INCLUDE:
WITH CHILDREN IN LOCKDOWN AT HOME, DADS STEPPED UP THEIR DAD GAME AND PICKED UP NEW ROLES (OR EXPANDED ON EXISTING ONES):
OF COURSE, PROLONGED TIME IN LOCKDOWN AT HOME DOES HAVE ITS UPs and DOWNs:
1 in 5 dads fell into temptation and declared they started eating unhealthier, while 1 in 7 admitted to drinking more during this stressful time. 1 in 8 feel they became more sedentary due to not being able to go out and play sports.
On the bright side, however, 1 in 4 dads started eating healthier, having more time to prep meals and 1 in 10 started practising a new sport. Moreover, 1 in 6 said they learned to be more polite and considerate, while 1 in 10 now practice gratitude more.
...AND SOME GENUINELY FUNNY MOMENTS, SUCH AS:
"BUTTING IN ON MY GIRLS' TIKTOK VIDEOS"
"LOOKING AT THE MOON THROUGH MY TELESCOPE WHEN THE STOOL BROKE AND I FELL OFF; IT WAS CAUGHT ON MY CCTV AND WE PUT IT UP ON FACEBOOK TO GIVE EVERYONE A LAUGH"
"MY DAUGHTER EXPERIENCING ME TWERK!"
"BROKE WIND ON WORK VIDEO CALL. MY SON FLUSHING THE LOO DURING THE SAME VIDEO CONFERENCE WITH WORK"
"ALL MY CLIENTS KNOW WHEN MY DAUGHTER HAS HAD A POO. SHE SHOUTS FROM THE TOILET TO ME AND HER MUM"
"MAKING A TIKTOK DANCE IN FANCY DRESS AND DOCUMENTING ALL THE MISHAPS DURING LEARNING THE MOVES"
AND HAS LEFT DADS LONGING FOR:
The survey has identified behaviours and traits that match the following dad types:
THE COOL DAD
The Dad who is in tune with their kids, listens to them and provides support.
1 in 4 dads listed 'listening more to each other' among the top things they enjoyed about lockdown with the family
A third of dads state their relationship with their kids improved and that the isolation period brought them closer together.
Almost half of dads (44%), confessed they confided in one another more than before the lockdown.
In fact, 1 in 7 dads say “I’m my kids’ BFF now!”
THE GAMER DAD
1 in 5 UK dads admit to having embraced their kids' passion for video games during lockdown, listing gaming among their favourite family activities.
Video games listed in top 10 activities that helped dads and kids bond – Moreover, dads declare they're keen to continue playing video games with the kids after the lockdown.
Not all gamer dads are the video types, in fact, 50% of dads admit to having played more board games with their children, puzzles or card games.
THE FOODIE DAD
More than half of UK dads (55%) increased baking and cooking during lockdown, with one in three (32%) admitting “cooking as a family” has helped the family overcome the challenges of spending prolonged time under lockdown.
THE ACTIVE DAD
Despite the lockdown, dads tried to stay active, with almost half (46%) admitting to playing more sports and exercising together more than before.
Not only that, but the necessity to keep the kids active make dads consider themselves “a sports coach now”.
Exercising together is in top three family time activities that dads have enjoyed and hope to do more of after the lockdown eases.
THE TECH DAD
The dad who is up to date with tech advancements, beats his kids at videogames and is perfectly fine WFH (tech is not an obstacle for him).
They tend to have younger children (under 5 year old)and are almost twice as likely to use video calls as a means to touch base with family and relatives (66%) than parents of teenagers (38%).
THE JOKER DAD
"Caught my boy posing and singing to a girl in his room via social media and filmed him doing it! That’s one for his 18th!”
*The survey which polled 2,400 dads and father figures in the UK was conducted between 14th – 19th May 2020.