As the nation prepares for a winter under the blanket of COVID, today Facebook reveals how Irish parents reacted to the initial phases of lockdown. People joined parenting and home-schooling Groups on Facebook in their tens of thousands. Before kids returned to school, people were talking about ‘staycations’ with over 400,000 mentions of the magic word in July and August before.

The Parents’ Portal

With over 862,000 parents in Ireland*, it’s no surprise that parenting is a popular topic on Facebook with many Groups, Pages and businesses dedicated to helping and supporting parents from sharing tips and advice and links to kids art classes, to sharing information about local retail hours and how to claim allowances and more. Over one third (300,000) of these parents are members of Facebook Groups devoted to parenting, with 60,000 joining these Groups since lockdown, as they became teachers, carers and primary play friends to their little ones.

With parents becoming full-time educators, members of home schooling Groups on Facebook almost doubled during lockdown with 10,000 people coming together to share advice and best practices when it comes to teaching children from home.

Ger Moloney, Community Leader who runs Mums of Glanmire Facebook Group said;

This Group, originally set up as a support Group for new mums, had 80 members back in 2015. Activity soared in recent years and we now have a fantastic community of over 7,600 mothers. During lockdown, the Group was more active than ever! Mums across Glanmire in Cork came online to seek support from one another. One idea posted in the Groups sparked the creation of a local fairy trail to keep our kids occupied during lockdown with hundreds of members and their children creating handmade fairy doors for the trail. Lockdown was an incredibly hard time for parents however through this Group, we felt like we were in it together.

Staycations leave you wanting Moher

As restrictions eased, parents in Ireland began to rediscover the beauty of Ireland with their little ones before heading back to school. In the last three months, people in Ireland talked about ‘staycations’ in more than 400,000 posts and comments on Facebook.

Kellie Kearney, Community Leader of parenting trip advisor Facebook Group called Adventures of Éire said:

In the last few months there has been a surge in activity in the Group from parents asking for recommendations for family staycations, activities and adventures across Ireland. There are over 10,000 members in the Group so there’s a wealth of advice for people who want to visit family hotels, camping spots, restaurants and hidden gems like playgrounds and local day trips. For me, social media is a safe space to feel connected to a community, even when we have to stay apart. Our community has helped reignite a love for Ireland for many families who chose to holiday here this year.

Through a dedicated Ireland and UK Power Admin Group, Facebook provides communities with actionable training for community leaders at different stages of their leadership journeys, support to help them achieve their goals, and tools to ensure they can effectively connect and engage their communities online. On Tuesday, 22nd Facebook will host the first Facebook Ireland Community Day, an online event with workshops and discussions to help Community Leaders grow and manage their communities. They will learn best practices on group engagement, managing conflicts within a group and ensure healthy group discussions.

*According to the 2016 Census, there are 1.2 million parents in Ireland.

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