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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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Longitudinal changes in juvenile and adolescent body mass indices before, during, and after the COVID-19 lockdown in New Zealand

Bruce Floyd; Heather T. Battles; Sophie White (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: American Journal of Human Biology

This study uses longitudinal data from school children in Dunedin, New Zealand, to evaluate impacts of COVID-19 lockdown measures on changes in body mass (BMI, kg/m2). Impacts are assessed using two non-mutually exclusive hypotheses. The “structured days” hypothesis holds that children tend to alter sleep patterns, reduce activity and increase snacking when not in structured environments. The bidirectional hypothesis proposes that over-weight or obese children are predisposed to further gains in unstructured settings. Juveniles and adolescents (n = 95, 60% female) were recruited from Dunedin schools. Repeated measures analyses assessed variation in intra-individual change in BMI during four periods: P1 (before summer break), P2 (during summer break), P3 (during the COVID-19 lockdown), and P4 (after the lockdown ended). The model also examined if these changes were influenced by participants' sex or body size early in the first period assessed using log-transformed BMI, log-transformed weight, height, or lower leg length.

Working from home and resilience among working parents during Covid-19

Shilpa Jain; Neeru Choudhary

Published: November 2022

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, working from home (WFH) was introduced wherever it was possible around the world. For working parents (employees with at least one dependent child), it was not simply WFH, but it also included challenges related to a new way of learning from home for their children. The pandemic changed the way people worked in organisations; we’ve all had to adjust our daily routines to cope with it and we are still learning how to do so. The aim of this study was to investigate the experiences of working parents and examine the factors that contributed to their resilience while working from home during New Zealand’s first lockdown in March–April 2020. Ten in-depth, semi[1]structured interviews were undertaken with working parents (having at least one school-aged child) drawn from sectors such as banking, education and professional services in the Wellington region. Data was analysed using a thematic analysis approach.

Longitudinal changes in wellbeing amongst breastfeeding women in Australia and New Zealand during the COVID-19 pandemic

Vanessa S. Sakalidis; Alethea Rea; Sharon L. Perrella (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: European Journal of Pediatrics
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted new mothers’ wellbeing and breastfeeding experience. Women have experienced changes in birth and postnatal care and restricted access to their support network. It is unclear how these impacts may have changed over time with shifting rates of infection and policies restricting movement and access to services in Australia and New Zealand. This study investigated the longitudinal effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on breastfeeding and maternal wellbeing in Australia and New Zealand. Mothers (n = 246) completed an online survey every 4 weeks for 6 months that examined feeding methods, maternal mental wellbeing, worries, challenges, and positive experiences during the pandemic.
Characteristics of effective entrepreneurship education post-COVID-19 in New Zealand primary and secondary schools: a Delphi study

Bethany Hardie; Kerry Lee; Camilla Highfield

Published: July 2022   Journal: Entrepreneurship Education
This study was designed to investigate the perceptions of experts regarding the characteristics of effective entrepreneurship education in New Zealand primary and secondary schools. The aim of the study was to inform future policies, curriculum review and decision-making regarding entrepreneurial projects that were effective in the mainstream compulsory schooling sector. Using snowball sampling, 28 local entrepreneurship experts were recruited to participate in a Delphi Study. Through successive rounds, these participants established consensus on current and relevant characteristics of an effective entrepreneurship education primary and secondary school. The collective consensus determined seven characteristics for effective entrepreneurship education, centred around student learning approaches.
A toy bear in lockdown, child-parent attachment and hegemonic peer-orientation

Carol Mutch; Noah Romero

Published: May 2022   Journal: Waikato Journal of Education

Towards the end of the first COVID-19 lockdown in early 2020, in Aotearoa New Zealand, the authors conducted a small-scale study to gain insight into children’s responses to the pandemic restrictions. As it was not possible to interview children ourselves, we recruited parents to read a set of digital stories about a toy bear in lockdown to their children and to record the ensuing conversations. The recorded conversations were returned to the authors to be transcribed and analysed. One intriguing finding was the strength of children’s feelings of loss in regard to their friendship groups, despite the fact that the lockdowns enabled them to spend more time with their immediate families. This article examines the phenomenon of the importance of peer-orientation over family-orientation as it appeared in the data. Hegemonic thinking and attachment theory are used to further explore this phenomenon and discuss how the current educational trends towards personal independence over family bonds might have led to some of the feelings of loss and anxiety highlighted in the data.

Enduring COVID-19 lockdowns: Risk versus resilience in parents’ health and family functioning across the pandemic

Nickola C. Overall; Rachel S. T. Low; Valerie T. Chang (et al.)

Published: May 2022   Journal: Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
Have the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic risked declines in parents’ health and family functioning, or have most parents been resilient and shown no changes in health and family functioning? Assessing average risk versus resilience requires examining how families have fared across the pandemic, beyond the initial months examined in prior investigations. The current research examines changes in parents’ health and functioning over the first 1.5 years of the pandemic. Parents (N = 272) who had completed general pre-pandemic assessments completed reassessments of psychological/physical health, couple/family functioning, and parenting within two mandatory lockdowns in New Zealand: at the beginning of the pandemic (26 March–28 April 2020) and 17 months later (18 August–21 September 2021).
Children’s perceptions of their neighbourhoods during COVID-19 lockdown in Aotearoa New Zealand
Published: January 2022   Journal: Children's Geographies
Neighbourhood design can have substantial impacts on children's physical and psychological well-being. COVID-19 lockdowns produced striking and unprecedented changes in how neighbourhoods functioned for children. The aim of this research was to explore what worked well for children during Alert Levels 3 and 4 (lockdown) in Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ), focusing in particular on the neighbourhood environment. Children (n = 192) aged between 5 and 13 years completed an online survey that collected information on neighbourhood walking and wheeling and what they liked about their neighbourhood during lockdown in NZ. Car-less neighbourhoods were important for supporting children’s well-being. Community activities such as the NZ Bear Hunt were appreciated by children. Natural environments, being home, spending time with family, and simple activities were all liked by participants. Social connections were important but often required technology. Findings can help inform initiatives to support child well-being in the face of potential future lockdowns or new pandemics.
Parenting during a pandemic: predictors of parental burnout

Cara S. Swit; Rose Breen

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of Family Issues
The global pandemic, COVID-19, has resulted in significant changes in many aspects of our lives. For parents, the impact has been great as they combine work, family, and homeschooling while maintaining the wellbeing of themselves and their family. COVID-19 has brought about challenges that many parents have not faced before, putting them at risk for parental burnout. The goal of this study was to investigate risk and protective factors that predict parental burnout during COVID-19. Eighty-six parents (75 mothers; Mage = 40.73; SD = 7.88) living in New Zealand during COVID-19 lockdown participated in the survey.
Beyond victims and villains: young people's acts of citizenship during Covid-19

Marta Estelles; Holly Bodman; Carol Mutch

Published: January 2022   Journal: Citizenship Social and Economics Education
During the Covid-19 crisis, stereotypical images of young people as selfish troublemakers or passive victims appeared in the media and scholarly publications. These persistent views disregard many young people's authentic experiences and civic contributions. This article challenges these perceptions by highlighting young people's acts of citizenship during the pandemic lockdowns that took place during 2020 in Aotearoa New Zealand. Despite being internationally praised for its compliant Covid-19 response, citizens were prepared to challenge the pandemic restrictions in order to have their voices heard. Young people were often at the forefront of these protests, wanting to actively participate in matters that concerned them by joining Black Lives Matter marches or campaigning to lower the voting age. At the same time, young people engaged in more personal and invisible acts of citizenship within their families and school communities. This article shares evidence from our empirical study into young people's social and political engagement during the Covid-19 lockdowns in Aotearoa New Zealand. Implications of this study for citizenship education are discussed.
Pilot study of a well-being app to support New Zealand young people during the COVID-19 pandemic

Anna Serlachius; Anna Boggiss; David Lim (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Internet Interventions

Well-being apps represent a promising and scalable approach for improving mental health outcomes in youth, especially during a global pandemic when access to face-to-face interventions may be limited. Whitu (meaning 7 in the New Zealand Māori language Te Reo) is a newly developed well-being app with 7 modules that support young people to learn and practice evidence-based coping skills, including relaxation, mindfulness, self-compassion, and goal-setting. This pilot explored the acceptability, usability, and preliminary efficacy of Whitu before refining the app for a randomized controlled trial (RCT).

Lessons from lockdown: parent perspectives on home-learning mathematics during COVID-19 lockdown

Lisa Darragh; Nike Franke

Published: September 2021   Journal: International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents suddenly had to assume responsibility for their children’s learning at home. Research conducted before the pandemic showed that mathematics homework is often unsuccessful or stressful for both parents and children and that tension exists between home and school in the learning of mathematics. Understanding parents’ experience of home-learning mathematics during lockdown has implications for positive learning relationships between home and school in the future. During the lockdown, we sent an online survey to New Zealand parents and received 634 responses. We found that parents were generally very engaged in the home learning of mathematics. They reported a range of opinions about the quality of mathematics work and teacher support, and there was a correlation between general stress levels and negative opinions. To further support their child’s mathematics learning, many parents turned to online mathematics programs, about which they were very positive.
“Zooming In” on children’s rights during a pandemic: technology, child justice and Covid-19

Nessa Lynch; Ursula Kilkelly

Published: June 2021   Journal: The International Journal of Children's Rights
The implementation of public health measures in response to the covid-19 pandemic has impacted heavily on the operation of child justice systems and places of detention, creating new challenges in the safeguarding and implementation of children’s rights. Yet, it has also been a time of innovation, particularly in the use of technology. Using case studies from Ireland and Aotearoa New Zealand, we discuss how technology has been used to maintain the balance between restrictive yet necessary public health measures and the operation of the child justice system. Examples include remote participation in remand hearings and trial and the use of “virtual visits” for children in detention.
Covid-19 in New Zealand and the Pacific: implications for children and families

Claire Freeman; Christina Ergler; Robin Kearns (et al.)

Published: April 2021   Journal: Children's Geographies
The experience of Covid-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2020 has been strongly shaped by a narrative emanating from a robust partnership between politicians and public health experts. This narrative treads a careful line between hard and soft responses. To elaborate, enacting policy such as closing borders and requiring ‘lockdown’ was swift and firm but was accompanied by an attempt to develop a disposition of care and empathy towards the public. While there has been hardship for some families, the soft messaging has, we argue, led to aspects of the response that have been decidedly child-friendly. At the regional scale, border closures have impacted heavily on Pacific Island families, separating families as parents have been unable to return to their home islands and through the loss of economic opportunities associated with seasonal work and in local - often tourism dominated economies. In a COVID-era the future looks uncertain for children both within New Zealand and in the wider Pacific realm.
Children’s working theories about Covid-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand

Raella Kahuroa; Linda Mitchell; Olivia Ng (et al.)

Published: January 2021   Journal: European Early Childhood Education Research Journal
As the COVID-19 virus has spread worldwide, much attention has been paid to its impact on the health and wellbeing of adults, with less attention to how the virus has impacted on young children. This article draws on documentation and video data from a kindergarten in Aotearoa New Zealand. It discusses the working theories of 4 year-old children whose teachers encouraged them to draw, construct images, explain and tell stories about their experiences, ideas and feelings about the virus. A main argument is that children’s working theories about the virus, knowledge of the virus and sense of personal control over keeping themselves safe developed over time. Arts-based and storytelling pedagogy were central in enabling children to communicate with others, to be understood themselves and to extend their own understanding.
Parents’ distress and poor parenting during COVID-19: the buffering effects of partner support and cooperative coparenting

Caitlin S. McRae McRae; Annette M. E. Henderson; Rachel S. T. Low (et al.)

Published: September 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is placing considerable demands on parents that amplify the risk of poor parenting. Leveraging an ongoing longitudinal study, the current study tests whether parents’ distress during a mandated lockdown predicts residual changes in poorer parenting and identifies within-family support processes that buffer these harmful effects.
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UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.


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