Title: Parents under stress evaluating emergency childcare policies during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Germany
Authors: Simone Schueller - German Youth Institute (Germany) [presenting]
Hannah Steinberg - German Youth Institute (Germany)
Abstract: What are the effects of school and daycare facility closures during the COVID-19 pandemic on parental well-being and parenting behavior? Can emergency childcare policies during a pandemic mitigate increases in parental stress and negative parenting behavior? To answer these questions, the purpose is to leverage cross-state variation in emergency childcare eligibility rules during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Germany and draws on unique data from the 2019 and 2020 waves of the German AID: A family panel. Employing a DDD and IV approach, we identify medium-term ITT and LATE effects and find that while emergency care policies did not considerably affect parents life satisfaction, partnership satisfaction or mental health, they have effectively diminished harsh parenting behavior. We find partly gendered effects, specifically on paternal parenting behavior. The results suggest that decreasing parental well-being likely constitutes a general effect of the pandemic. In contrast, the observed increase in negative and potentially harmful parenting behavior is largely directly caused by school and daycare facility closures.