Caregiver decision-making on young child schooling/care in the face of COVID-19: The influence of child, caregiver, and systemic factors

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Caregivers, Decision-making, COVID-19, Children, Schooling, Daycare


In March 2020, U.S. schools and daycares largely shut down to manage the novel COVID-19 pandemic. As the country made efforts to reopen the economy, American parents faced difficult decisions regarding returning to work and securing schooling and care for their young children. During the summer and fall of 2020, caregivers (N = 1655) of children (N = 2408; ages 0 – 12 years) completed questionnaires assessing their decision-making process regarding their children’s daycare or schooling situation. A mixed method approach (i.e., qualitative, quantitative assessments) was utilized. Outcomes indicated three main themes that impacted caregivers’ choices: child factors, caregiver factors, and systemic factors. Caregivers experienced high levels of stress while worrying about their child’s and family’s health, job responsibilities, and risk of COVID-19 infection rates in their areas. Continued assessment of families and children during this time is warranted.


This article was published with support from the Open Access Publishing Fund administered through the University of Arkansas Libraries.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.