New VUB research measures parents’ childcare expectations in post-corona era

New VUB research measures parents’ childcare expectations in post-corona era

Results used for development of citizen childcare network and app

Parents can usually call on day-care services to look after their children during the working day. But during the coronavirus crisis, day-care centres, creches and childminders have largely been unavailable. Scientists from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, who are part of the European research project Families_Share, have launched a survey to explore how parents have combined childcare and work during the lockdown, and how they see the future. The researchers will use the insights from the study to improve their existing app, which helps groups of parents organise care for their children among themselves.

The online survey will gauge the impact that the coronavirus measures have had on parents’ working conditions, their wellbeing and that of their children, and the family’s plans for childcare in the summer. The survey is available from 10 June to 10 July via this link; it takes up to 25 minutes to complete.

The researchers hope to gain insights into how and to what extent the coronavirus has changed the needs and wishes of parents in relation to childcare, in order to improve the Families_Share app. Parents can use this app to register to babysit the children of neighbours or colleagues while they work. The platform has successfully been rolled out in six test cities in Europe: Kortrijk (Belgium), Venice, Trento and Bologna (Italy), Gyor (Hungary) and Thessaloniki (Greece). The project received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

“With Families_Share, we want to help parents find a good work-life balance, which has become increasingly difficult in the past decade in Europe,” says Shenja Van Der Graaf, of imec-SMIT and VUB. “First because of the situation on the labour market, where there has been more work needed but which has also left many people in precarious work situations or without a job. Second, there have been major cuts to social services, meaning that in many European countries there are not enough childcare places available, and they are becoming more expensive. Childcare and after-school activities, which are crucial for a child’s development, are too often the preserve of children with better-off parents. The app offers an accessible and above all social solution to this.”


Shenja (Adriana) VAN DER GRAAF

+32 4705 09885

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