Child Health Poll on effects of COVID-19 pandemic on families

Despite the hardships, Australian families have found some silver linings in the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the new findings from The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) National Child Health Poll, made possible by your support.

Almost half of parents (42 per cent) say they are now more connected to their child, with most having spent more time reading (51 per cent) and playing games (68 per cent) together, and 66 per cent have developed new positive family habits since COVID-19.

Unsurprisingly, children spent more time on screens for entertainment (51 per cent), spent less time being physically active (42 percent) and ate more unhealthy food (25 per cent) during the pandemic. In fact, only one in 10 children got enough exercise each day.

However, positive habits were also reported, with the vast majority of children (78 per cent) utilising digital media to stay connected with their friends and extended family. Three-quarters of parents (75 cent) said their child was able to learn well remotely using digital devices.

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.

Find tips for parents and the full poll report on the RCH National Child Health Poll here