More than 500 000 British respondents shared their thoughts about early childhood development with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge for her 5 Big Questions on the Under Fives survey.
Conducted earlier this year, she recently shared her research which includes British parents' take on the first five years of their children's lives, parental mental health as well as the impact Covid-19 has had on UK families.
Viewing early childhood developments as an issue which is "on par with the other great social challenges and opportunities of our time" the Duchess revealed that her interest in the topic is due to more than just her role as a parent.
"Right from the early years, meeting lots of people who are suffering with addiction or poor mental health and hearing time and time again that their troubles now in adulthood stem right back from early childhood experience," she said during a Q & A session of what began her passion for the early years.
Here's a look at the "5 Big Insights" taken from the survey:
1. Poor understanding of just how valuable the early years really are
"Answering the 5 Big Questions, 98% of people believe nurture is essential to lifelong outcomes, but just one in four recognise the specific importance of the first five years of a child’s life".
2. Parents are putting their well-being on the back burner at the expense of their mental health
"90% of people see parental mental health and wellbeing as being critical to a child’s development, but in reality, people do very little to prioritise themselves. Only 10% of parents mentioned taking the time to look after their own wellbeing when asked how they had prepared for the arrival of their baby. Worryingly, over a third of all parents (37%) expect the COVID-19 pandemic to have a negative impact on their long-term mental wellbeing".
3. Harsh criticism affects parental well-being
"70% of parents feel judged by others and among these parents, nearly half feel this negatively impacts their mental health."
4. Living in isolation has contributed to parental loneliness
"Parental loneliness has dramatically increased during the pandemic from 38% before to 63% as parents have been cut off from friends and family. The increase in loneliness for parents is more apparent in the most deprived areas... Compounding this, it seems there has been a rise in the proportion of parents who feel uncomfortable seeking help for how they are feeling from 18% before the pandemic to 34% during it".
5. Support is lacking in communities where it is needed the most
"Across the UK, communities have united powerfully to meet the challenge of unprecedented times. 40% of parents feel that community support has grown. However, parents in the most deprived areas are less likely to have experienced this increased support (33%) than elsewhere".
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