Aug 15, 2020 - Health

Exclusive flash poll: Parents will lean on family members for help

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Parents expect to rely on family members to help babysit, tutor or tend to their children's needs in the fall as they try to juggle competing demands and uncertainty, according to a flash poll of 310 U.S. parents who are part of an Ipsos-run community panel conducted Aug. 10-12.

The big picture: Parents are facing another semester of tackling the superhuman task of managing virtual education from home while also working.

  • While some parents are considering hiring tutors to come to their home, or using a concierge or virtual assistant service, a sizable number reported that they trusted family members most — particularly spouses and grandparents — in helping with child care and studies.

By the numbers:

  • 72% of the parents surveyed are expecting their children's education to be partly or fully virtual in the fall.
  • About 13% said they plan to arrange for extra help, with 12% saying they have not yet decided, partly out of concern that they could not afford to hire assistance.

What they're saying: Reliance on family members cuts across income brackets and race.

  • "Taking my child to a relatives house for home schooling," said a white Kansas working mother of a 6-year-old.
  • "I have to re-arrange my schedule, my spouse work schedule and planning with grandparents to assist when problem arise," said a Black working mom in Massachusetts with children ages 7 and 10. "The grandparents will help with babysitting only and when one of the parent gets home, will focus on the learning aspects."
  • "Kids spending the day with grandmother while we work," said an Asian working mom of kids ages 8 and 13 from Wisconsin.
  • "Well, I am hoping it can be a family member because I trust that more during this time. I am planning on asking my nephew to help with my oldest and my oldest to help with the middle and my youngest does not go to school so she's all mine," said a white Delaware working mother of kids ages 8 and 15.

The bottom line: While family will be heavily leaned upon, one source of help may not be enough for parents.

  • Several said they intend to cobble together child care and learning coverage through a combination of spouses trading off, grandparents, friends and professional babysitting or tutoring services.
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