Guide To Supporting Expecting and Working Parents with Young Children During COVID-19

According to the Pew Research Center, the share of two-parent households in which both parents work full time stood at 46 percent in 2015, up from 31 percent in 1970, a 50 percent increase in a 45-year time span. Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts that estimate higher, stating that 63 percent of […]

According to the Pew Research Center, the share of two-parent households in which both parents work full time stood at 46 percent in 2015, up from 31 percent in 1970, a 50 percent increase in a 45-year time span. Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts that estimate higher, stating that 63 percent of married couples with children have both parents employed. There are 41 million families in the United States that have two working parents, and dual-income parents are the fastest-growing segment of the employee population. In the time of COVID-19, these already stressed households are struggling more than ever to balance the dual pressure of work and home life.

While working parents, along with millions of expecting parents, are feeling particularly burdened by the impacts of this pandemic, employers are reaching out to Cleo for guidance on how best to support working families and expecting parents. Cleo’s track record as the most effective support system for working families, paired with a history of providing personalized support through an all-virtual platform, has led HR leaders to turn to us for help in rolling out the best possible support for new and expecting parents.

In order to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges employers face during the COVID-19 pandemic, our team at Cleo commissioned a study by Wakefield Research, which surveyed 500 HR and Benefits leaders in large enterprises between the dates of March 18 and March 20, 2020. In the survey, we explored how HR leaders are investing in family benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak and uncovered some interesting facts.

Employee populations that organizations are most concerned about during COVID-19

First, the survey uncovered that gaps in in-person care were top of mind with respondents. 64% of HR and Benefits leaders are worried about the impact of COVID-19 on parents with young families and 56% are concerned about parents expecting a baby in the next three months.

New additional family benefits that organizations are providing during COVID-19

An overwhelming percentage of respondents — 93 percent — said their company intended to provide new, additional family benefits. A further 75 percent of respondents are also considering offering additional benefits on top of that.

Among those companies providing new, additional family benefits:

New additional family benefits that organizations are considering adding during COVID-19

These findings are in line with what we are seeing on the ground. In recent days, there has been a dramatic uptick in the number of questions that Cleo members are asking our guides; in fact, incoming messages volume has increased 10x. Anxious expecting parents and stressed working families are looking for clear, evidence-based advice in an unprecedented situation that is changing rapidly. Our expert team of healthcare providers, infant development specialists, pediatric psychologists, and career coaches have identified specific recommendations and evolving best practices as data is available. Cleo has tailored our response to the specific needs of our families, offering support to both our member families as well as the general public.

Cleo’s Response and Expanded Resources
Cleo has organized an online resource of tips and best practices for dealing with COVID-19. We’ve organized the resources by audience to support managers and employers, working parents with young children, and new and expecting parents. All of this information is currently free and available to the public:

Managers and Employers:

  • Resources and best practices: Managers need guidance on how to support and manage working families, particularly those with young children. The following resources are available: Supporting Employees Through COVID-19 webinar discusses best practices for supporting and managing working parents and gives answers to top employer questions around how to support working parents and expecting parents. Working Families in the Time of COVID-19: Practical Tips for Your Workforce webinar (also available as a blog post) addresses key strategies HR and benefits leaders can implement to support working families in the time of COVID-19 and answers a number of questions to help calm anxieties of working families and workforce leaders. Tools to Help Managers Support Working Families at Home webinar addresses how managers must both acknowledge the unique stress employees face and support them through this challenging time, especially their vulnerable working parent population
  • New policies: HR leaders are curious about what policies other companies are adopting to support their family population. They want to know: what’s working, what isn’t? This blog post, Tips for Managing a Remote Team Through COVID-19, shares tips and strategies to adapt to a new way of working to better manage, engage and support your employees and each other—from a distance.
  • Identifying top anxieties of working parents: Company leaders want to know what are the top questions and anxieties working parents share with Cleo. They’re also looking for insight into how they can help expecting families get the support they need? This blog post, 11 Tips on Coping with Anxiety: Managing Fears and Self Care, talks about how to manage stress, anxiety, and fear during a time when working parents are taking on the double duty of work obligations and managing children at home.

Working Parents with Young Children:

  • Working from home realities: Our members are asking: How can I work from home? What resources and tips does Cleo have? How do I partner with my significant other during this stressful time? This blog post, Daycare Closed? Kids Home? 7 Tips To Reduce Anxiety Working From Home, provides answers.
  • Addressing anxieties about COVID-19’s impact on their children: Working parents ask: How do I know if my child is OK? Does Cleo have any tips on how to talk to kids about COVID-19? How do I help my kids stay connected to school and friends in such an isolated time? This webinar, available on demand, discusses how to work with and support children, share best practices on partnering with spouses, and answer questions about COVID-19’s impact on children. There is also a blog post on Educating and Entertaining Your Kids During the COVID-19 Outbreak.
  • Getting support from managers: Working parents need tips on how to talk to managers and company leaders about needing a more flexible schedule and creative support.

New and Expecting Parents:

  • Preparing for birth/baby: Birth plans are being changed and challenged. There is massive anxiety amongst expecting parents on how to utilize the healthcare system, when to go to hospital, and how to get support. The webinar, Birth in the Time of COVID-19, will cover the latest information on COVID-19’s impact on the health of expecting mothers and infants, how to stay healthy, and how to manage a changing birth plan. Register to attend live or watch on-demand.
  • Managing the first weeks with a baby at home: Postpartum support and recovery is a challenge. Now that many of our members are “sheltering in place” in an anxiety-ridden environment, there is a drastic reduction in the everyday support system, from lactation support to identifying and managing postpartum depression.
  • Fears about their health and their baby’s health*: Our members have questions and concerns about COVID-19’s impact on them and their baby. We’ve documented and provided advice for the top three concerns: getting prenatal care, reducing the risk of COVID-19 exposure at the hospital, and preparing for a different birth/postpartum experience*.

Most importantly, even with increased demand, Cleo continues to care for its members, even as we make resources available to the public. To help support the most vulnerable members that Cleo serves, expecting parents and parents of newborns, Cleo offers one-on-one Family Guide support in planning for birth and postpartum, as well as real-time answers to questions about newborn care and parenting. In response to the closure of community-based in-person breastfeeding and childbirth prep classes, Cleo has launched virtual group classes for any of our expectant families. All members already have access to our core offerings of virtual lactation support post-birth and a postpartum Family Guide check-ins. Additionally members can message their dedicated guides 24/7 to help get answers to their questions whenever they want.

Cleo has launched COVID-19-specific content within its app and updates it daily with the latest evidence-based resources and information. The in-app content has been developed to provide insights for all families, including people trying to get pregnant, expecting parents, parents of newborns, families with young children and managers who are now supervising teams remotely. Members receive fresh, dynamic content in real time based on the most up-to-date information from the CDC, medical professional organizations and Cleo’s healthcare partners.

Originally published on EBN