Excerpted from abstract:
The COVID-19 disruptions to children’s education have been a major issue for families. This study examined how demographic, family, and mental health characteristics of 375 low-income children and their mothers from the City of Toronto were associated with children’s educational experiences at home during COVID-19. Many mothers (82.3%) reported that they and their children (80.0%) experienced challenges related to children’s education at home during the pandemic. However, a small percentage of mothers (1.1%) reported that this mode of learning was better for them and their children (4.3%). The most frequently reported challenges faced by mothers was taking on the role of a teacher (43.7%) and balancing their children’s remote learning with other responsibilities (19.4%). The most frequently mentioned challenges faced by children was that children lacked both motivation (21.1%) and socialization (21.1%) and had difficulty focusing (26.9%). White mothers from households with higher income and with a higher number of adults in the home reported that their children experienced higher levels of challenges related to their education at home. Maternal and child challenges with children’s education at home were also related to higher levels of maternal and child mental health challenges. Our findings suggest that the online educational experiences set up following the onset of the pandemic were difficult for many children and mothers to implement in the home. Given the significant associations of these challenges with child and maternal mental health, we encourage educators to provide flexibility, empathy, and support with learning from home to both children and mothers.