Physical activity and wellbeing top concerns for UK dads in lockdown, survey reveals

A new UK-wide poll conducted by retailer Menkind sheds light on how government-imposed lockdown measures have been impacting dads and their relationships with their children over the past couple of months. Despite several challenges, many families are coming together, with dads prioritising their kids’ and their own health and wellbeing, both physical and emotional.

Menind_Survey-8.jpg

Health and wellbeing among top challenges

According to the poll, conducted between 14th and 19th May 2020, almost two thirds of dads (60%) have been spending more time with their kids than before, which contributed to strengthening the family bond significantly. A third of dads say their relationship with their kids improved and that the isolation period brought them closer together.

The positive effects on the family bond didn’t come without difficulties. Health and wellbeing were amongst the top challenges of lockdown, with a third of dads concerned about kids getting enough exercise and a fifth with cooking varied meals during the isolation period. Emotional wellbeing was a big focus too, with a quarter of respondents listing “giving each other space” as a challenge.

Playing sports and exercising together to keep sane

With more time on their hands, dads engaged in the simple pleasure of family activities as a means to overcome the difficulties of spending prolonged time inside: 2 in 5 played sports and exercised together with the kids, the same number did gardening, and over a third of dads took on DIY projects, all activities that helped them bond with the kids. When asked about the new roles they picked up during the isolation period, 1 in 10 dads said they’ve taken on the “sports coach” role in recent months.

Among the lockdown activities dads engaged more in than before, close to half said they exercised together with the family more than before, while a big proportion were playing more with the kids.

On a positive note, 1 in 4 dads started eating healthier and 1 in 10 started practising a new sport, while 6% of dads started meditation to improve their mental health.

There were, however, those who felt the negative impact of lockdown on their healthy habits: 1 in 5 dads confessed they started eating unhealthier, while 1 in 7 admitted to drinking more during this stressful time. Encouragingly, only 3% admitted the stress and worries have pushed them to pick up smoking.

Dads more in tune with their emotions

When asked about the most important lessons learned from their kids during family quarantine, close to half of dads confessed that they want to spend more time with the kids moving forward, while two thirds want to be more supportive of them when they need it, and the same number said they learned to be less impatient from their kids.

Challenging male stereotypes, 1 in 14 dads said they learned to be more in tune with their feminine side. A significant number, 1 in 4, admitted they learned “that it’s okay to fail” and 1 in 5 confessed that “relationships take work”.

Commenting on the new survey findings, Fred Prego, Marketing Director at Menkind, said: “As kids we grow up with this idealised view of our dads as superheroes, which somehow fades away as we grow older and understand they are human, after all. These last few months have seen dads reclaim that superhero role as they’ve been spending more time at home with the family, forming closer bonds, getting more involved in their children’s education, activities and spare time. Despite the challenges of lockdown, it’s reassuring to see that most dads have cherished spending quality time with their kids to the point of wanting to be closer to them moving forward – being a father myself, I’m among them.”

To read more about the experiences and challenges UK dads faced during lockdown, please visit: www.menkind.co.uk/blog/lockdown-dad.