COVID-19: parents more stressed, but more present

The pandemic seems to have favored the time spent by parents with their young children, but adults are more stressed, according to a survey unveiled Tuesday by the Observatory for Toddlers.

About 75% of parents of children five and under surveyed by the Léger firm in Quebec said the pandemic had a positive effect on the time allocated to their child.

“This is good news in itself, as the time that a parent spends with their child promotes the creation of a secure attachment bond, which is essential for the development and self-esteem of the child. child, said the director of the Observatory of the little ones, Fannie Dagenais, in a press release. However, to promote the development of this bond of attachment, it is important that the time given to children is of good quality. ”

This extra time spent by children is however affected by the stress of parents, who say 68% have to overcome more challenges than before the pandemic. About 51% pointed out that their stress level regarding the COVID-19 crisis is high.

This is especially true for women (56%) compared to men (44%). Parents of poorer households are also much more stressed. About 69% of parents with total family income before tax of less than $ 40,000 experience this situation.

“The pandemic will certainly have contributed to exacerbating social inequalities since vulnerable families are likely to be confronted with a greater number of sources of stress: low income, job losses, food insecurity, inadequate housing, etc.” Ms. Dagenais clarified.

The Observatory notes that 66% of the parents questioned mentioned that the possibility that the school or the daycare service of their young child will close again because of the pandemic represents a source of stress.

About 61% said keeping the child home if they have any symptom is stressful. Moreover, 44% of parents surveyed affirmed that “the pandemic has had a negative impact on their ability to remain calm with their child”.

In addition to stress, the pandemic has reduced family support for parents of young children. About 43% of respondents mentioned that social distancing measures affected this support.

“The loss of social support is of great concern given the beneficial effects that support from those around you can have for parents and toddlers. Indeed, having a good interpersonal support network contributes positively to the physical, cognitive or social development of children when they enter school, ”said Fannie Dagenais.

This internet survey was carried out from October 29 to November 2 among 501 adult parents of children aged 5 and under.

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