Coronavirus (COVID-19): public attitudes and behaviours - April update

Findings from polling work, conducted between September 2021 and January 2022, on public attitudes and behaviours around the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland.

This document is part of a collection

9. Parents/guardians and children

This section covers parents' and guardians' attitudes towards:

  • their children getting vaccinated
  • worry about the effect of the pandemic on their children's mental health
  • awareness of changes to their children's play/behaviour due to the pandemic


The pandemic has had a significant impact on children's education and social life. From disruption to schooling to limited social interactions and having to adapt to protective behaviours.

Children in Scotland went back to school in mid-August after the summer holidays. This was in the build-up to a peak of the Delta variant wave of infections, where 7,526 daily positive PCR cases were recorded on 2 September.[24] Similarly, when children returned to school in January after the festive break, this was just after the peak of the Omicron variant wave, with 21,425 positive PCR tests recorded on 29 December.[25]

In September, the Scottish Government announced that vaccines would be administered to children aged 12-17 years.[26]

Parents'/guardians' support for their children getting vaccinated

6 in 10 parents/guardians (between 60% and 67%) said they were 'highly likely' (scoring 8-10) to support their children aged 12-17 getting vaccinated (Figure 54). Those unlikely are around 1 in 10 (12% to 15%). And the undecided fluctuated around 2 in 10, between 19% and 25%. Note that due to the small sample sizes and limited data entry points, interpreting trends should be approached with caution.

Figure 54: Likelihood of parents/guardians with children aged 12-17 to support their child/children receiving the vaccine now that it is available to them

Bar chart showing 60%-67% parents/guardians are likely to support their child/children getting vaccinated.

Source: YouGov Scotland Survey. Base: Adults with children aged 12-17 (n=75-93)

Parents'/guardians' worry about their children's mental health[27]

Over 4 in 10 parents/guardians with children aged 4 to 17 (42%) agreed that they were worried for their child's/children's mental health (Figure 55). 3 in 10 (32%) were not worried, and just over a quarter (26%) neither agreed nor disagreed that they were worried for their children's mental health.

Figure 55: Proportion of parents/guardians who agreed/disagreed that they are worried about their child/children's mental health

Bar chart showing 42% of parents/guardians were worried at 21-22 September

Source: YouGov Scotland Survey. Base: Adults with children aged 4-17 (n=189)

Changes in children's play/behaviour

Just under half of parents with children aged 4-17 (49%) agreed that they have noticed changes in the way their children play or behave as a result of the pandemic (Figure 56).

Figure 56: Proportion of parents/guardians with children aged 4-17 who agreed/disagreed that they can see changes in the way their children play/behave as a result of the pandemic

Bar chart showing 49% of parents/guardians agreed at 21-22  September.

Source: YouGov Scotland Survey. Base: Adults with children aged 4-17 (n=189)



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