Parents dealing with more ‘tantrums and outbursts’ during Covid-19 lockdown

Survey by Barnardos finds sibling rows, pent up energy and loss of routine creating issues

Parents have had to deal with more tantrums and outbursts from their kids than normal during the coronavirus pandemic, a survey by the childrens’ charity Barnardos has found. Image: iStock.

Parents have had to deal with many more tantrums and outbursts from their kids than normal during the coronavirus pandemic, a survey by the children’s charity Barnardos has found.

More than two thirds of the 2,683 respondents (68 per cent) said their children missed attending school.

A third of parents said their children were arguing with them more regularly, while 38 per cent said they were finding it harder to implement rules around the house during the lockdown. Some 38 per cent said there had been an increase in tantrums and outbursts from their children.

More than half of the respondents said children were less likely to stick to bedtime routines of late, with 28 per cent saying siblings were fighting more often during the pandemic. Managing children with pent up energy was an issue for 31 per cent of the respondents.


The survey, published on Thursday, found that 84 per cent of children reported missing their friends amid school closures and restrictions on group gatherings.

Less sleep

A third of the parents who responded said they had been getting less sleep or exercise during the pandemic and around half said they were worried about the health of family members and this was adding to their stress levels. The survey found the impact was heavier on lone parents, with 28 per cent of these respondents saying they felt sad or low during the lockdown.

Families with young children were more likely to report needing additional support during the pandemic, with 15 per cent of parents with children under six falling into this category.

Overall, 14 per cent of parents said the lack of childcare support was causing additional stress in the home. In a third of cases the balancing act between parenting and working from home had led to extra stress.

Suzanne Connolly, Barnardos chief executive, said the findings highlighted the challenges and stresses facing families during the Covid-19 restrictions.


“The lack of childcare support is a huge contributor to this stress and hundreds of respondents reported that trying to balance parenting and working at home added a lot of pressure to the household,” she said.

However, despite the public health crisis, half of parents who took the survey reported being satisfied or extremely satisfied with family life, she said.

“Some families noted how the restrictions have allowed them to stop, take stock of what is important and to spend quality time together,” she said.

‘More angry outbursts, more crying, more feelings’: What you say about how children are handling lockdown

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times