A research made by Portuguese Large Families Association (APFN) on measure set to support large families in Europe during the pandemic has confirmed that few, if any, of the policies were addressed to large families.
The measures taken have not proved effective in solving the problems of families with children, particularly those with younger and with more children. The burden of managing normality (work, school, health, nutrition, entertainment…) in critical conditions, and the necessity to balance work and family, fell completely in families and the relief provided was not effective.
All the same, families have shown resilience and, even in fatigue and difficulties, have managed to ensure the continuation of the system.
We could see that the measures implemented by Governments are not sufficient to guarantee the adequate conditions to families with kids, and to large families, to overcome the challenges imposed by COVID-19. For most Governments, a family with one child was treated the same way as a family with three, five or more children.
Under exceptional circumstances, as the COVID-19 crisis is, it is essential to consider different contexts in which measures are applied and consider them whenever measures are defined. Measures could have been much fairer if they had contemplated the degree of dependency of dependents (age of children, existence or not of disabilities, …) and the dimension of the family (including ascendants and descendants). Working hours’ flexibility should apply to all workers with dependents. Additionally, extraordinary combinations of working hours with the maintenance of income (supported by companies and Government) should have been possible depending on the family structure, during the lockdown.