An overwhelming majority of parents (83%) admit to worrying about their young children’s behavior, according to new research.
The survey of 2,000 parents of children ages 0-6 revealed that the most common concerns are sleep habits (48%), closely followed by aggression (46%) and separation anxiety (44%).
Others are concerned about their children’s language behaviors (43%), as well as their challenge (40%).
But when it comes to addressing those concerns, more parents feel unprepared (44%) than prepared (37%).
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of The Goddard School, the survey asked parents about their concerns, whether behavioral, social-emotional, academic or safety, as well as what they look for in an early childhood education provider.
Overall, most parents turn to their friends (57%), to parents at their child’s school (56%), or to the school and teachers themselves (56%) when seeking guidance on improving their child’s behavior.
Many also turn to their family (55%) and resources like their doctor (51%) and online forums (48%).
Similarly, 61% of parents say their child’s school helps them address their concerns, and the same number (61%) expect the school to help them with those concerns.
And worry doesn’t stop with just behavior. With nearly two-thirds (63%) sending their children to school or daycare, parents care more about their children’s social-emotional growth (75%) than anything else.
This is followed by concerns about the quality of their educational program (59%) and their academic improvement (55%) by sending their child to school this year.
Additionally, more than half (51%) are concerned about the safety of their children at school.
“It is important for parents to be able to go to their child’s school not only for education, but also for social-emotional development and behavioral guidance,” said Dr. Lauren Starnes, senior vice president and chief academic officer at Goddard Systems, LLC, franchisor of The Goddard School. “More than half (54%) of parents say that support and education to help them overcome their child’s behavior problems is one of the most important resources their school can provide. Schools can ensure they meet the needs of parents and support students and their families by offering parenting information and guidance.”
When selecting a daycare or preschool program, parents say the most important factors are a focus on social-emotional development (48%), safety and security (45%), and a focus on academic growth (43%).
When considering a provider’s academic program, parents seek to cultivate curiosity and imagination (60%), master basic concepts such as letters or numbers (56%), and opportunities for collaboration and teamwork (53%).
Beyond the curriculum, parents look to their child’s school for support in understanding social cues and norms (59%), understanding their emotions (56%), and gaining independence (55%)—all critical social-emotional skills.
The continued focus on social-emotional development may be due to the fact that just over a third (34%) of parents worry that their child is not developing socially and emotionally.
Although more parents believe their children look forward to school rather than fear (45% vs. 36%), the prospect of being social is a polarizing element for children as the school year approaches.
Being sociable is the most common reason kids look forward to (79%) and dread (65%) starting a new school year.
When asked to choose the area in which their child needs the most support, parents’ top choice was learning social skills (25%).
“For parents concerned about their child’s social-emotional development, it is important to be wise and considerate when selecting a school,” said Dr. Starnes. “Three-quarters of parents say that by attending school, their children benefit from learning social skills. Others see benefits in being exposed to new situations (57%) and gaining crucial social-emotional intelligence (56%). Many parents (60%) are looking for a place to nurture their children’s curiosity and imagination, all skills that translate well beyond the classroom.”
TOP 3 AREAS OF PARENTHOOD PARENTS HAVE LESS CONFIDENCE IN
● Emotional Development – 52%
● Manners and social norms: 51%
● Basic education (reading, counting, etc.) – 45%