Supporting parents through lockdown

13 January 2021

The demand for parenting support during lockdown has grown as families have struggled to balance home schooling, childcare and work. Ruth Stokes from Action for Children reports on how the charity has responded.

“She offered more help to me in our short conversation than I’ve had in years of trying to get help for my son”

- a parent's review after using the Parent Talk service

In the middle of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, children’s charity Action for Children launched a new service for parents. The advice website and one-to-one chat - Parent Talk - was a response to a growing number of parents needing help and guidance.

In June the charity and YouGov asked more than 2,000 parents how the coronavirus pandemic was impacting them and their families. More than one in three parents said they felt out of their depth. Over a third said they were struggling due a lack of usual support.

This reflected what the charity was seeing in its own services: in the first three months of lockdown, there was a surge of 417% to its existing digital parenting advice.

Down-to-earth advice, when it’s needed

Parent Talk offers down-to-earth parenting advice, when it’s needed. Parents can browse articles on the most common parenting questions, or talk one-to-one with a qualified parenting coach about anything that’s worrying them.

The charity sees parents come to the service with a range of needs: from emotional wellbeing and mental health to behaviour, development and co-parenting.  

The Parent Talk website builds on the charity’s successful one-to-one chat service, which has supported more than 450,000 parents since its pilot in 2018. This includes more than 11,500 one-to-one chats.

Developing essential, continued support

Recent data shows that 90% of parents rate the support from one-to-one conversations at 4 or 5 out of 5, while 79% of parents say they feel supported after accessing the information, advice and guidance content on the website.

The site is reaching a large number of parents around the UK - between July and December 2020, it helped 233,647 families. And the need for support remains high. That means that a priority for the team is now working to ensure the service is sustainable for the long-term, to allow them to reach more parents when they need support.

Alongside this, they’re using parental feedback and data to develop the service and help people find what they need as quickly and easily as possible.

This feedback also helps the team see the difference they’re making. As one parent said, “She [the adviser] offered more help to me in our short conversation than I’ve had in years of trying to get help for my son. I cannot thank her enough.”

Find out more or get support by visiting Parent Talk.