Back-to-school anxiety? Quarter of parents don’t want kids riding school bus during pandemic

NEW YORK — With COVID-19 rates starting to tick back up this summer, parents are more anxious than usual about back-to-school season. In fact, American moms and dads believe the morning hustle of getting their kids ready for school will be their biggest pain points of the next school year.

A survey of 2,000 parents of school-aged children also reveals more than half (51%) don’t feel prepared for the upcoming school year.

Back to school — but not via bus

parental pressureNearly seven in 10 parents are overwhelmed by the constant routine changes of the past year. One in three say they’ve just started getting the hang of their current pandemic routine. More than that, 27 percent admit they’ve forgotten what their kids’ normal school morning routine feels like.

The study, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Sittercity, also explores other ways the pandemic is shaping parents’ back-to-school concerns this summer.

With worries about their child getting COVID-19 top of mind for one in four parents, there’s more stress than ever around the commute to school. More than a quarter of parents are uncomfortable letting their kids ride the bus.  Perhaps it’s no surprise then that seven in 10 plan to wake up almost half an hour earlier just to drive or walk their kids to school instead. However, according to 75 percent of parents, the pandemic has also made kids more self-sufficient.

Maturing ahead of schedule

parental pressureFrom dressing themselves (59%) and cleaning up (58%) to doing homework without parental help (49%) and going to sleep on time without a reminder (47%), kids are relieving their parents of some of their daily load by acting an average of two years older.

In return, two-thirds of parents have become more lenient when it comes to screen time because they trust their child is doing remote schoolwork during school hours. While 87 percent believe their child has become more mature, 55 percent say they’ve caught their youngsters playing video games instead of doing remote schoolwork.

It’s no surprise, then, that 57 percent of parents find the mental load of parenting overwhelming. Moreover, 45 percent confess when it comes to planning child care, they don’t even know where to look.

“After a year and a half of managing the mental load of child care, education and enrichment for children, parents are exhausted,” says Zenobia Moochhala, CEO of Sittercity, in a statement. “Although many have seen their kids mature during these challenging times, the data from this survey shows just how badly parents need additional support.”

Nearly two in five parents feel overwhelmed because their child tends to be picky. Another 38 percent admit there’s just too much for them to manage. Seven in 10 believe having an extra set of hands would bring them some much-needed relief in the back-to-school routine.

“Families, and moms especially, rely on a myriad of solutions to piece together their child care and enrichment plans, but none are comprehensive or long-term enough,” Zenobia adds. “Now more than ever parents need help building a support system that works.”