Survey shows parents spent more time with children at start of pandemic

Scores of parents who indicated in a new survey from the U.S. Census Bureau that they spent more time eating, reading and playing with their children from March 2020 to June of 2020, when coronavirus lockdowns were at their most intense, than they had in previous years.

“During coronavirus, we were a unit,” said Levy, an attorney who lives in New Jersey.

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“Families knew before the pandemic that they were overstressed. Kids had so many places to be. Parents were juggling an awful lot,” Roma Walsh, co-director of the Chicago Center for Family Health at the University of Chicago, said in a phone interview. “The pandemic made people not go to work, and our kids were home. It really helped parents to say, ‘Hey, wait a minute. We are able to have real family time together that we weren’t before.’”

The pandemic also strained many families. The death of loved ones, job losses, financial worries, remote learning, social isolation, and the demands of child and elder care all took a heavy toll, Walsh said.

“The key point is families have experienced extreme stress and strain over the course of this prolonged pandemic,” Walsh said. She said her research shows that families do best when they share positive values, take a creative approach to problem-solving and have the flexibility to adapt.

“Those families that can pull together and practice resilience are doing well, and it actually strengthens their bonds,” she said.


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