Perspectives of socioeconomically disadvantaged parents on their children's coping during COVID-19: Implications for practice

Ami Seivwright, Zoe Callis, Paul Flatau

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Disruptions caused by COVID-19 have the potential to create long-term negative impacts on children's well-being and development, especially among socioeconomically disadvantaged children. However, we know little about how socioeconomically disadvantaged families are coping with the pandemic, nor the types of support needed. This study presents qualitative analysis of responses to an open-ended question asking parents how children are coping with the restrictions associated with COVID-19, to identify areas in which these cohorts can be supported. Four main themes were identified: health concerns, schooling difficulties, social isolation and adjustment to restrictions. Health concerns included exacerbation of pre-existing health conditions, fear about the virus, difficulty getting children to understand the pandemic and increased sedentary behaviour. Schooling difficulties referred to the challenges of home schooling, which were behavioural (e.g. difficulty concentrating) and logistical (e.g. technology). Social isolation, expressed as missing friends, family and/or institutions was common. Finally, parents expressed that children experienced both positive adjustments to restrictions, such as spending more time with family, and negative adjustments such as increased screen time. Many responses from parents touched on topics across multiple themes, indicating a need for comprehensive, holistic assessment of children's and families' needs in the provision of support services. The content of the themes supports calls for resources to support children and families including increased financial and practical accessibility of social services, physical health and exercise support, mental health support and COVID-19 communication guides.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-403
Number of pages16
JournalChildren and Society
Issue number2
Early online date6 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


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