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Cost of living crisis leaves parents spending less time with their children.


A shocking cost of living report released by UNICEF makes grim reading for those living in Britain, 2023.

It reveals that 83% of parents find the cost of living is making it harder to be a parent.

A further 64% found it is the reason they spend less time with their children.

The survey published earlier this month paints a stark picture of how parents are struggling financially and the impact that is having on their children and family life overall.

In this article, we unpick the details and go to the heart of the matter to find out:

    • Why this has come about
    • What people are doing in response to the cost of living crisis

    The UNICEF Survey

    Commissioned by the UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), the YouGov survey focused on parents with children 0-4 years. The findings are a gloomy depiction of the life and struggles parents and young families are facing in the country. This is primarily because of the coronavirus pandemic, lockdowns and knock-on soaring inflation.

    A similar survey just a year ago revealed that 2.36 million parents felt the cost of living was having a negative impact on their family life.

    According to UNICEF, that figure has now risen to 3.12 million in light of this recent report.

    The figures below illustrate just how bad it is:

    • 30% of parents reported working more hours in the past year due to increased financial pressures
    • 37% having less time to read, play, and cook healthy meals with their child(ren)
    • 70% of parents surveyed said being a parent is getting harder each year
    • 78% said that the rising cost of living is negatively impacting their family (up 12% from last year’s survey)
    • 66% said they were worried about their child’s future life chances
    • 50% said they cannot afford to give their child(ren) the life they want to
    • 61% said they have struggled with their mental health since becoming a parent

    The Rising Cost of Living

    71% of parents said their family budget is stretched to the limit. Many families were negatively impacted by the cost of living. They were having to make financial decisions that affected their children by:

    • Cutting back on activities like playgroups and sports clubs (56%)
    • Reducing their spending on books, toys or crafting materials (50%)

    Their Children’s Futures

    • 66% of parents surveyed said they were worried about their child’s future life chances
    • 50% said they cannot afford to give their child(ren) the life they want to
    • 71% said they are struggling to put any savings aside for their child’s future


    Mental Health

    61% reported to have struggled with their mental health since becoming a parent. Many have said in the last year that they had felt:

    • Overwhelmed (49%)
    • Anxious (43%)
    • Unsupported (36%)
    • Lonely, all or a lot of the time (26%)

    Shifts in Society Making Parenting More Difficult

    70% of parents with children under 5 years said they felt it was getting harder to be a parent in this country year-on-year.

    68% believe the Government is not doing enough to support them as parents of young children.

    Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of UNICEF UK, said:

    “These findings provide a stark snapshot into the reality for many families with babies and young children right now – worried for their children’s future, struggling to make ends meet and left feeling anxious, alone, and unsupported.”

    He added:

    “Urgent Government action is needed to address the gaps to stop families slipping through the net and to safeguard our babies and children’s futures.”

    A year ago, last October, children’s charity Barnardo’s commissioned a YouGov survey. It revealed a similarly grim picture of life for Britain’s parents of children aged 18 or under.

    • 54% were forced to cut back on food spending for their family as a way of helping to save money
    • 20% said they were struggling to provide sufficient food for their children due to the current cost-of-living situation 
    • 26% were forced to sell possessions
    • 20% took on new credit cards, extra debt or a payday loan
    • 26% said their child’s mental health had worsened due to the rising cost of living
    • Some even had to leave pets at rescue centres

    Measures to Help in Times of Financial Difficulties

    In any cost of living crisis, cutting back on spending is the first thing anyone has to do.

    Unfortunately, you don’t have much choice.

    Consequently, sacrifices have to be made. This can lead to all sorts of problems, not only for parents and young families.

    The priority is then to start managing your finances more efficiently.

    The heart of the problem is the lack of money. That’s why people find they are having to sell possessions and sign up for more debt through credit cards. Even borrow from friends and loved ones.

    These are the immediate things you can do.

    But there is another way. It requires commitment and a willingness to learn. But once you find out how using investments can make money, many are finding it time worth spending.

    Investing in your own financial knowledge can ultimately be very profitable.


    The UNICEF and Barnardo’s surveys are hard to read and take in. But they affirm what we are seeing here at Investment Mastery – more and more people are taking to investing to increase their income.

    Many are even embracing the idea that they can take control of their finances. Some are using investments as a vehicle to achieving total financial independence.

    It all starts with investment education, investment courses and training.

    We provide both, and much more, here at Investment Mastery. For instance, we have this useful Money Management Calculator

    which can help you organise your finances for the now, as well as the future.

    You can find out more by signing up to IM Insider, a FREE and easy way to get an introduction into investing.

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    • Inspiring Selection of Top Educational Material
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