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The impacts of the Coronavirus have been deeply felt by parents. National lockdowns have amplified their pressures, duties and responsibilities; parents have had to become full-time educators of, and entertainers for, their children. In the past year, the home setting has drastically changed. Before, predominantly, it was a place to relax; however, it now performs multiple functions, such as a school, a workplace or gym. Nowadays, parents are not just parents- they are teachers, they are educators, they are project managers, they are entertainers and they are friends. Parenting and entrepreneurship are not too dissimilar, especially within a Covid-19 context. Both parents and entrepreneurs are required to fulfil many different roles in order to result in a happy child or a successful business. Skills learnt through parenting and entrepreneurship are not mutually exclusive and, indeed, can enhance each other. By turning the challenge of Coronavirus into an opportunity, it is clear that many parents have had a unique experience allowing them to further develop entrepreneurial skills throughout the pandemic. Several skills are developed, but three key attributes are perseverance, resilience and self-motivation, all vital for both successful entrepreneurship and bringing up children.
Staying at home has taken time and patience and has not been without its highs and lows. However, it has developed perseverance; this skill is both consciously and subconsciously practised by parents with their children. It requires resilience and adaptability, two attributes essential for building a business. Parents, more than most, can deal with unpredictability; children are constantly on the move, just like the working climate, trends and markets, which gives parents the advantage to overcome challenges in their work life, and to develop a can-do attitude. It is important to remember the phrase ‘improvise, adapt and overcome’; nothing is impossible, and parents should feel proud of their perseverance in child nurturing, especially during this time and be confident in applying these skills to their own life or to developing entrepreneurial skills in their children. Coronavirus isolation has increased the amount of time spent away from, and interaction with non-household members for parents and resulted in balancing childcare with other responsibilities. Therefore, sticking to a routine and setting goals in a more time-flexible environment has been fundamental to the self-motivation of parents, just like it is to self-employed people. This has also had huge knock-on effects for positive mental health, through feeling in control of the situation and experiencing a sense of achievement. For those having a less positive experience of parenting during lockdown, there is an abundance of online support available to support home schooling, self-development for self and child/ren and general family self-care and wellbeing. Community and peer support are becoming more prevalent as old-fashioned values return to enhance day to day survival and growth during what has no doubt been a shock to individuals, communities and society in general. Using this time positively to enhance skills for self, family and community will have long lasting effects.
Overall, the situation, while inherently challenging for parents, has also been, and continues to be, a unique opportunity. Parents have more time to not only develop a passion, but also the chance to realise how transferrable their skills are and how, as parents, they can home-school whilst introducing a wide range of transferable skills, all relevant to creating sustainable and entrepreneurial communities.