What was lockdown like for dads – and how can we keep the ‘best bits’?

10 May 2021

Our new study, Lockdown Fathers: the untold story, shows that during the first Covid-19 lockdown (in spring 2020), Britain’s fathers spent more time than ever with their children – looking after them, doing more housework and supporting their learning and development through play, home schooling and other activities.

FI Lockdown Fathers report image
Watch and share the Lockdown Fathers video here

Our study found that overall, dads grew in confidence, learned new skills and built stronger relationships with their children. They want to stay more involved in future – and their contribution to their children’s learning and development could be massive.

But long working hours and commutes, and lack of direct contact with schools, get in the way. The fathers we surveyed want that to change: 76% of those full-time at home during lockdown said they’d like more flexible working, and 63% more home-working in future, for example.

That’s why we’re launching a new project, Time with Dad.

What’s Time with Dad?

Time with Dad aims to create a space where employers, education providers, and parents themselves can work together to give fathers the time and support they need to keep supporting their children’s education.

We want to explore new ideas, share our stories, form collaborations and trial new approaches.

Maybe you’re an employer, a teacher, a dad or a mum, and saw in lockdown how important dads’ input can be. Perhaps you’re a researcher, or work in national or regional government – and would be interested in creating or evaluating new approaches to father-involvement.

Whoever you are, we want to hear from you. You can join our network, or get in touch, here. And you can talk to us and others on social media using the hashtag #timewithdad.

Let’s rethink men’s work

Employers: What flexible working options do you offer – and how do you communicate them to dads?

Schools and early years settings: How did you engage with dads during lockdown – and how are you going to do this in future?

Dads: What did you enjoy about supporting your children’s learning during lockdown? What did you find difficult? What would make it easier for you to keep things up post-pandemic?

Mums: Did your child’s dad get involved in home schooling? Have you noticed a change in him? Are there things you could do to support his future involvement?

Researchers: What do we know about ‘what works’ in employer support for men’s domestic involvement, and in father-engagement by schools? What don’t we know? How could we get better evidence?

Policy people: Are you thinking about fathers as you develop post-pandemic ‘build-back’ programmes? What kind of help would be useful to you as you do this?

What’s next?

As we develop our project, we’ll provide updates on this page through e-shots and on social media, using the hashtag #timewithdad. So for now, bookmark this page, sign up for updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and start sharing…

Press coverage for Lockdown Fathers

Sunday Telegraph 20 June 2021: How the pandemic led to a nation of better dads

The Observer, 20 June 2021: Dad’s the word: how the pandemic got men talking about fatherhood

CTV News: Why fathers may continue spending more time at home with kids after the pandemic ends (Youtube)

Nursery World: Dads want more flexible working options to be better dads

Working Dads: Why time with dad matters

Lifting Limits: Lockdown Fathers

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