Corona crisis: family life is heavily burdened

Corona crisis: family life is heavily burdened

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#corona parents: How the corona crisis affects families

The measures to curb infections with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 have drastically changed social life. Many families have been in a state of emergency for weeks, which demands a lot from parents and children. A recent study examined how much families are actually burdened by the Corona crisis.

Kindergartens, schools and playgrounds closed plus additional contact barriers - this has turned everyday life upside down in most families. Professor Dr. Helen Knauf from the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences was examined on the basis of an evaluation of family blogs on the Internet. The results of their study were published by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

Corona crisis

Initial scientific studies have already confirmed fears that domestic violence will increase with the corona crisis and that some children may face significant disadvantages from the closure of childcare facilities. However, it is hard to guess how much the families are actually burdened by the Corona crisis. Professor Knauf has now tried to assess the situation in the family based on an evaluation of the blog posts.

Family blogs as a basis for evaluation

"Family blogs open up a differentiated and at the same time direct access to the perspectives and experiences of parents," explains the study author. The evaluation had shown that the primary topic of the blog posts on the subject of Corona are the basically high and ongoing loads.

Multiple burdens on parents

"It becomes clear that for parents the role of parent is only one of many tasks that they have to master," emphasizes Prof. Knauf. In addition, they also have to do their actual gainful employment, do the housework and also take over the pedagogical tasks for older children or accompany the processing of the school material. It was also important to spend meaningful leisure time with the children.

Care arrangements in families

The analysis of the family blogs also showed how much mothers and fathers in our society depend on support, according to Prof. Because "the parents have built up various childcare arrangements from a combination of day care center, school, grandparents, hobbies and appointments." the politically desired and publicly funded family infrastructure has made life with children a common social task.

Impending re-traditionalization of gender roles

However, with the closure of child daycare facilities and the ban on contact, the childcare arrangements largely broke away and responsibility for childcare fell back to the core family - often exclusively to the parents. According to Prof. Knauf, this also harbors the risk of re-traditionalization of gender roles, since childcare is still mostly the responsibility of women.

Find tangible solutions quickly

It can be clearly seen that parents have to push their limits (and beyond) in the current situation, which is why it is now necessary to quickly find tangible solutions that are also sustainable in the medium term, according to the expert. "In this situation, parents need concrete relief on the one hand" and "it is also important that they are also perceived politically and taken seriously as service providers", emphasizes Prof. Knauf.

Children are also burdened

The current situation is not only stressful for the parents, but also for the children. According to Prof. Knauf, "normally daycare centers, schools and other institutions help to ensure the basic rights of children to play and education" and with the closings the offer was completely eliminated.

Greater support for families

"I hope that the study will once again hear the needs of families," summarizes Professor Knauf. It seems a little as if the lobby for the interests of families has so far been missing, because in other areas extensive help has already been promised, while families have to deal with the multiple burdens independently. Stronger support for families is also urgently needed, given that some restrictions can last for months. (fp)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


  • Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung: Corona - Families at the Limit (published May 6th, 2020),
  • University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld: #coronaeltern: families at the limit (published May 20, 2020),

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