Researchers Warn Lasting Effect of COVID-19 on Child Wellbeing

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 13:56

Flinders University researchers have warned that social and community disruptions caused by the COVID-19 restrictions could have a lasting effect on child wellbeing.

According to the Medical Life Sciences reports, Flinders University experts explain that while health, safety and education responses are the focus of restrictions, the needs of childhood independence, self-determination and play are less acknowledged.

“Play is a key aspect of children's wellbeing from their perspectives.The closure of playgrounds, schools and the fear and worry associated with being in public spaces has likely had significant impacts on children during this time,” said Jennifer Fane, PhD., Study Lead Author, Flinders University.

"As children return to school, and life starts to resume as it did pre-COVID-19, focus and attention to children's opportunities for play - and their ability to exercise reasonable 'agency' during this time of significant transition - are two key aspects that can support their wellbeing during this difficult time."

"Young children interviewed in the study told us of the importance to their lives of trying new things and having a say about play," says Flinders Professor of Public Health Colin MacDougall, a co-author on the Child Indicators Research paper.

"As the world takes baby steps to ease these life-saving restrictions, and move into an uncertain future, we must take the time to think about very young children.

"This research can be used to help chart a course for the multiple transitions these children are undergoing."

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