- Survey reveals children’s concerns about the Coronavirus outbreak, with 68% fearful of family members falling ill, and 2 in 3 sometimes feel lonely at home.
- Parents are under acute pressure with schools closed, half worried about their children’s mental health, 42% are concerned about keeping up with their children’s schoolwork, and 1 in 3 noticed their children are restless.
- Research comes as Save the Children launches Coronavirus Appeal to support families affected by Covid-19
As Canadian households enter their third month living in lockdown, new research from Save the Children finds social isolation is taking a toll on children’s emotional health, with two in three children reporting they sometimes feel lonely at home.
Half of parents (51%) are worried about their children’s mental health at a time when schools are closed and contact with friends and family is limited as a result of physical distancing.
Loneliness, although not a diagnosable mental health condition, can affect your emotional and physical health. Some research suggests that loneliness is associated with an increased risk of certain mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and increased stress, and that loneliness and social isolation are twice as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity.
Across Canada, an overwhelming 88% of the children aged six to 18 said they were upset about not seeing friends for the foreseeable future due to the unfolding Coronavirus outbreak. Save the Children also found that children in Canada are worried about falling behind in school while learning from home (35%), and are worried about a family member becoming sick (68%). Two in three children said they sometimes feel lonely and are bored at home.
The poll paints a vivid picture of families living under acute pressures in lockdown. Asked about some of the biggest concerns that come with looking after their families, parents said helping their child keep up with their schoolwork (42%), reducing child’s screen time (37%), and managing their children’s mental health (24%). Of those who answered helping their children manage stress, restlessness or anxiety as a top concern, only 17% of parents feel like they have all the resources they need to help with this concern.
School closures mean parents have found themselves balancing working from home and being a teacher. More than a third (36%) are juggling working from home with childcare duties, while 14% have reduced their working hours to take care of their children. A fifth of parents (20%) would like more support from schools, while 38% are worried their child are falling behind. A further one in four parents feel that they don’t have enough time to sufficiently be involved with their child’s education, with this being most prevalent among parents of children under 8 years (31%).
The survey comes as Save the Children launches a fundraising appeal to respond to the learning, health and protection needs of the most vulnerable children, families and communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada and around the world.
The aid agency is working with Indigenous communities in Canada to support families who are feeling the effects of the unfolding situation most acutely.
Save the Children’s National Reconciliation Program is helping families have access to mental health and well-being support, as well as learning resources so children can continuing learning while schools are closed. The program is also training frontline health workers and caregivers on how to safeguard children and respond to their unique needs in a crisis.
The charity has set up a free, online resource hub, which provides a range of creative resources and activities created by Save the Children’s early learning experts, who have used their knowledge of what works for children at different ages and stages. Resources available include ideas for keeping children calm and connected, creative play and fitness activities.
Bill Chambers, President and CEO at Save the Children says:
“An alarming number of children in Canada are feeling lonely due to COVID-19. Even after we flatten the curve, the long-term emotional and mental health effects of this pandemic will affect us all, especially children.
“Throughout this challenging time, we’re here to support families by focusing on keeping children safe and healthy, and making sure they can keep learning, no matter what. Through our response programs, we will provide essential mental health support to help children thrive during these unprecedented times.
“Save the Children has helped children in crisis for the past 100 years. Now, we’re calling on the generous Canadian public to donate to our emergency appeal, and help us support children in Canada and around the world who are hardest hit. Together, we’ll help families through this.”
For further information and to donate to Save the Children’s Coronavirus Appeal please visit: www.savethechildren.ca
To access the children’s resource hub visit: https://www.savethechildren.ca/coronavirus/kids
About this survey:
These are the findings of a survey conducted by Save the Children from to April 24, 2020 to April 29, 2020 with a sample of 1,005 online Canadians parents of children aged 6-18 years old who are members of the Angus Reid Forum, and additionally, a sample of 756 children aged 6-18 years old. The survey was conducted in English and French.
About Angus Reid Forum surveys:
The precision of Angus Reid Forum online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, for the parent sample and +/- 3.6 percentage points for the children’s sample. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
About the Angus Reid Forum:
The Angus Reid Forum is Canada’s most well-known and trusted online public opinion community consisting of engaged residents across the country who answer surveys on topical issues that matter to all Canadians.
For additional information please contact Jessica Bryant, Head of Communications, Media and PR:
About Save the Children
Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In Canada and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.