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 Education 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.
From our Preschool Program to Harold's Friend Ship, Growing Good Friends and Relate, Respect Connect, Life Education can help students at your school understand wellbeing and build the skills they need to make healthy choices and create healthy relationships in their lives.