Over the last year, parents and their kids alike have been forced to work or attend school from home. Many parents have been challenged to work full-time jobs while attending to the needs of their children around the clock. Our team set out to determine how IKEA might help its customers improve life at home, first by listening and learning from parents themselves.
We first spoke to Wayne, a 37-year-old father of three from Blaine, Washington. When speaking about the messes his daughters make, Wayne repeated the phrase, “it is what it is.” Wayne said that he accepts that he can’t prevent his children from making messes – to Wayne, they’re inevitable. He explained that he shoves all his daughter’s toys in a corner of the house and has been doing so since before the pandemic. Next, we talked to Dara. Dara is a 47-year-old mother to two sons, both with learning disabilities. Dara, her husband, and her sons live in a “super small condo” (850 sq ft) in Manhattan. Dara described how little space her apartment has and said, “We have too many Nerf guns and nowhere to put them.” She also said that she recently purchased a new nerf gun for her son. Also, Dara described how she used to have more time to clean up the apartment when her boys were at school, but since the pandemic, “everything has been a mess.” Lastly, Lazarus. Lazarus is a 39-year-old father of three daughters, aged 7, 4, and 2. He rents a two-bedroom condominium with his wife, who works from home. Lazarus talked about how there was no designated place or method for storing toys in his home. He said that in order to make more space, he would store toys within other toys. Lazarus said that his family was “outgrowing” the condo and that they do not have enough space for his daughters, or new furniture. “There’s messes everywhere, I just got frustrated cleaning up every day and putting things away. When I clean up, the kids want to make a mess again.” Lazarus described how he used to clean every day before and at beginning of the pandemic, but after a while he stopped: “I’ve given up.”
Before the pandemic, parents took a proactive approach to clean their children’s messes. After the pandemic, parents say they no longer make an effort to organize and that “it is what it is.”
Parents keep buying more toys even though they say they don’t have any more space for more toys.