Two-thirds of parents feel relieved when the school year begins, but not because they want a break from their children.
According to a recent survey of 2,000 parents of children aged 0 to 6, 56% believe that going back to school gives their children an opportunity to get back to normal through participation in social activities.
And parents believe school is about more than just learning new things (54%). It also serves to make new friends (50%) and learn important social-emotional skills (48%), which may include those that help them meet daily challenges and grow academically, professionally, and socially .
The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the Goddard School, uncovered how parents are engaging their children in social interactions before and during the pandemic.
Overall, nearly two-thirds of parents (61%) believe the pandemic has set their child back both socially and developmentally.
Additionally, nearly three-quarters (70%) of parents indicated that social-emotional learning and learning social skills are the most important areas of growth for their child.
In fact, learning social skills (36%) and gaining social-emotional intelligence (35%) were two of the most commonly cited areas in which parents believe their children need the most support or improvement.
Before the pandemic, more than half (55%) of parents engaged their child in social activities between three and six times a week.
But during the pandemic, that number dropped to 44%, and 11% of parents said their child was not engaging in any social activities during this time.
Today, parents are most likely to involve their children in social activities through parent-caregivers, speaking and singing to them (47%) and attending family events (46%).
On average, parents think their child has four friends.
To help them make more friends, parents help their children learn important social-emotional skills by engaging them in extracurricular or group activities (50%), teaching them to listen to others (48%), and teaching them to share with others (44%).
“As families across the country continue to adapt to the evolving changes in daily life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for social-emotional development has been greater than ever. The survey data shows that parents are taking note and are prioritizing social-emotional development to help their children grow after what has been a challenging time for us all,” said Dr. Practice basic social-emotional skills like self-awareness, decision-making, self-management, social Awareness and friendship skills so they are not only ready for school but also for life and career.
Parents learn from their children too: 77% agree they learn as much from their children as their children learn from them.
The two most important social-emotional skills children have taught their parents are understanding (52%) and patience (52%).
And on top of that, parents admit that they are surprised by their child’s maturity and intelligence about five times a week.
When asked about the most important social-emotional skill their child taught them, one respondent said, “Empathy, sometimes I forget what it’s like to be young and to be stressful with your feelings. That’s what they’re teaching me now.”
Other popular answers were “luck” and “honesty”.
“Schools today should strive to strengthen the home-school connection and be true partners with the parents of our students,” said Dennis R. Maple, chairman and CEO of Goddard Systems. “Children learn meaningful lessons in school, and parents are given the tools to continue their child’s education at home.
TOP WAYS PARENTS BELIEVE THEIR CHILDREN BENEFIT FROM SCHOOL BEYOND THE CURRICULUM
Learning social skills – 47%
Find friends – 47%
Exposing yourself to new situations – 45%
Learning how to solve problems – 45%
Acquisition of social-emotional intelligence – 44%
Learning Independence – 44%
Compliance with social standards – 40%