Families find the positives in Covid-19 challenges
Australian families have found some silver linings in the COVID-19 pandemic, with the majority of parents reporting their family is more connected (76%) and more than half (66%) have developed new positive family habits since the pandemic, the latest from The Royal Children’s Hospital National Child Health Poll has found.
The Poll of 2,018 parents who care for 3,408 children revealed, unsurprisingly, that children spent more time on screens for entertainment (51%), spent less time being physically active (42%) and ate more unhealthy food (25%) during the pandemic.
However, with that came some positives for children and families, including almost half of parents (42%) saying they are now more connected to their child, with most having spent more time reading (51%) and playing games (68%) together.
Poll Director, Paediatrician Dr Anthea Rhodes, said parents spending time with their child reading books, playing games or exercising are some of the best ways to create positive relationships, and these activities also come with benefits for both physical and mental health.
“As we continue to adjust to life through the different stages of the pandemic, one helpful thing parents can do is focus on how they can continue with these positive new habits and activities,” Dr Rhodes said.
The findings also show the pandemic has negatively impacted the mental health of both parents (48%) and children (36%), with loneliness being a common experience for both parents and children.
“The pandemic has affected us all in different ways, and for a large proportion of us, the impacts have been negative. People need to look out for each other and find ways to stay connected,” Dr Rhodes said.
Life Ed CEO, Kellie Sloane was reminded that says healthy habits have never been more important.
“Find some time each day to fit in some exercise, make healthy food choices and get enough sleep. These are the simple habits we are helping Australian children and families to build, ” Kellie Sloane said.
Tips for parents
- Continue positive habits your family has formed
- Establish routines to get back on track – every day is an opportunity to start making healthy choices
- Slowly start to cut down on screen time and replace it with exercise, reading or family games
- Create set bedtimes to ensure enough sleep
- It’s ok if you’re feeling a bit lost during this time – be kind to yourself and your family
- If you or your child are struggling, help is available via Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) or Reachout.com