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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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1 - 15 of 61
Rapid retooling and adaptation of EIE data processes and programming: Pashe Achhi Model in early childhood education in emergencies in the Rohingya camps of Bangladesh

In March 2020, after the coronavirus cases in Bangladesh were confirmed, both Humanitarian Play Labs (HPL) and mainstream Play Labs temporarily stopped their face-to-face operations according to the government mandate. The pandemic endangered people’s physical health and highly impacted their socio-economic and mental health conditions. Hence, BRAC explored alternative approaches and designed a telecommunication model, Pashe Achhi, to support all the direct beneficiaries during the pandemic. The objective of the intervention was to be connected with the beneficiaries and promote children’s wellbeing and development through play-based learning, positive parenting, and self-care practices of caregivers. Since caregivers are the core agent for children’s learning and development during the pandemic, the model provides psychosocial support and learning support to them. To facilitate the calls, the model trained facilitators on ECD, learning through play, playfulness, and mental health. Pashe Achhi is a telecommunication model consisting of tele-counseling and tele-learning components. After receiving the training, the Play Leaders started to call the families every week to conduct a 20 minutes phone session (10 minutes with the mother and 10 minutes with the child) based on the scripts delivered. In the first 10 minutes, Play Leaders give mothers and caregivers basic psychosocial support, tips on engaging with children and discuss health and hygiene issues.

Parental stress of children with autism spectrum disorder during the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19): experience from Serbia.

Aleksandra Djuric-Zdravkovic; Mirjana Japundza-Milisavljevic; Dijana Perovic (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Fortschritte der Neurologie · Psychiatrie
Taking care of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as of children with other developmental disorders, is associated with greater parental stress. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and impact of integrative and co-morbid ASD-related symptoms on parental stress levels during the COVID-19 pandemic at four time points. Testing was performed during significant changes related to the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Serbia.
Effects of COVID-19 on child neurodevelopment: an integrative review

Lucas Teixeira de Castro; Leticia Fernandes Teixeira; Giselda Tavares de Araújo (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Research, Society and Development
The effects of COVID-19 on children are still poorly understood. Considering the progressive increase in pediatric cases, we sought to gather evidence of the disease in children, to better understand its evolution, possible complications, and favor clinical practice. This is a review, whose search was carried out in the National Library of Medicine, Latin American & Caribbean Health Sciences Literature (LILACS), Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online, Virtual Health Library (BVS), PAHO and Cochrane Library. Eight articles were included, and the most common symptoms described were: cold-like symptoms, dry cough, respiratory difficulty, mild throat infection, loss of muscle strength, tonic and reflex changes in the lower limbs. However, there is still no clarity about the disease in children, requiring further research.
The association between screen time and attention in children: a systematic review

Renata Maria Silva Santos; Camila Guimarães Mendes; Débora Marques (et al.)

Published: April 2022
Electronic media pervade modern life. Childhood is a crucial period for attentional development and the screen exposure time is increasing. This review aimed to understand the association between screen time and attention of children with typical development. A systematic review was conducted in compliance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyzes PRISMA being registered at Prospero under number CRD42021228721. A search was performed in January 2021 with the following keywords: “screen time,” “children,” and “attention,” combined with the operator AND, on databases PubMed, and PsycINFO. Four hundred and ninety-eight articles were identified, and 41 papers were fully read, of which 11 were included in this review.
A pediatrician’s guide to working with children on the autism spectrum in COVID-19 and beyond: retrospect and prospect

Thusa Sabapathy; Megan Goss; Jessie Borelli (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Advances in Pediatrics
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event with observable consequences and devastating effects on children and families. This global occurrence highlighted and broadened gaps and disparities in the care of children with developmental disabilities, while simultaneously catalyzing innovation. Initially not seen as direct victims of the disease, children are inherently vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19, resulting in increased stress, anxiety, isolation, and health challenges. The impact is further amplified in autistic children and children with other neurodevelopmental considerations. These children are uniquely vulnerable due to communication impairments, comorbid medical disorders, poor adaptability and reliance on therapeutic interventions. Abrupt reduction in services and access to care during the pandemic led to compromised physical and mental health and missed opportunities for intervention at critical times which may have profound consequences further down the road. There are, however, bright spots in this story, as many autistic children demonstrated resilience in their abilities to adapt to these challenges. It is important to examine the effects that the pandemic triggered, address deficiencies and recognize new opportunities to improve systems of care to prepare for unforeseen futures. This review article outlines the impacts of the first year and a half of the pandemic on autistic children and provides tools for professionals, recognizing the ever- evolving nature of the situation.
Changes in children’s physical fitness, BMI and health-related quality of life after the first 2020 COVID-19 lockdown in England: a longitudinal study

Laura Basterfield; Naomi L Burn; Brook Galna (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Journal of Sports Sciences
This study aimed to assess one-year changes in physical fitness, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and body mass index (BMI), encompassing the 2020 COVID-19 UK lockdowns. Data were collected (October 2019, November 2020) from 178 8–10–year-olds in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, 85% from England’s most deprived quintile. Twenty-metre shuttle run test performance (20mSRT), handgrip strength (HGS), standing broad jump (SBJ), sit-and-reach, height, body mass, HRQoL (Kidscreen-27 questionnaire) and sports club participation were measured. BMI z-scores and overweight/obesity were calculated (≥85th centile). Paired t-tests and linear regression assessed change, adjusting for baseline BMI. Significant (p<0.001) changes were observed: increases in mean BMI (+1.5kg·m−2), overweight/obesity (33% to 47%), SBJ (+6.8cm) and HGS (+1.5kg); decreases in 20mSRT performance (−3 shuttles), sit-and-reach (−1.8cm).
Navigating play in a pandemic: examining children’s outdoor neighborhood play experiences

Cassie J. Brownell

Published: March 2022   Journal: International Journal of Play
Much research about children's play as a tool for navigating social worlds and difficult circumstances describes individuals or small groups of children playing synchronously, frequently in school or lab settings. Fewer studies consider the possibilities of asynchronous outdoor play, the topic of this paper. Drawing from a series of photographs generated in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the author describes children's outdoor play in a Canadian urban neighborhood. Adapting elements of narrative inquiry, she highlights how elements of play lingered on the sidewalk for others not just to see but also to play with. Specifically, she outlines instances of play that occurred with what she terms an ‘anonymous other.’ The author theorizes how‐amidst COVID-19 and sustained social/physical distancing‐play shifted in unexpected ways. Ultimately, she forwards new understandings about the intersection of play with materials, environments, and persons for consideration by scholars, caretakers, urban planners, and policymakers.
Impact of the COVID-19 virus outbreak on 24-h movement behaviours among children in Saudi Arabia: a cross-sectional survey

Yazeed A. Alanazi; Anne-Maree Parrish; Anthony D. Okely

Published: March 2022   Journal: Child

In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as a pandemic. This led many governments to place restrictions on population movement to aid in pandemic control. These restrictions were expected to produce some type of impact on the daily lives of children and their families. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on 24-h movement behaviours among Saudi children aged 6–12 years, during the pandemic. An online survey of Saudi parents (n = 1021) was conducted between 1 October to 11 November 2020 to gather information about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on children's 24-h movement behaviours, parent and child factors that may be associated with movement behaviours, and perceived changes in children's movement behaviours.

Children's perspectives on friendships and socialization during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative approach

Danaë Larivière-Bastien; Olivier Aubuchon; Aurélie Blondin (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Child

Good quality friendships and relationships are critical to the development of social competence and are associated with quality of life and mental health in childhood and adolescence. Through social distancing and isolation restrictions, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the way in which youth socialize and communicate with friends, peers, teachers and family on a daily basis. In order to understand children's social functioning during the pandemic, it is essential to gather information on their experiences and perceptions concerning the social changes unique to this period. The objective of this study was to document children and adolescents' perspectives regarding their social life and friendships during the COVID-19 pandemic, through qualitative interviews. Participants (N = 67, 5–14 years) were recruited in May and June 2020. Semi-structured interviews were conducted via a videoconferencing platform. A thematic qualitative analysis was conducted based on the transcribed and coded interviews (NVivo).

Emotional and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms of preterm vs. full-term children during COVID-19 pandemic restrictions

Marion Bailhache; Maeva Monnier; Flore Moulin (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Pediatric Research

Preterm children are at higher risk of developing mental health problems than full-term children. Deterioration of children’s mental health was observed during COVID-19 pandemic restrictive measures. This study compared emotional and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms during school closure between preterm and full-term children. Data from two French birth cohorts—ELFE and EPIPAGE-2—were used. In 2011, infants born ≥22 weeks’ gestation were recruited. Parents completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire when the children were 9 years old and experiencing school closure. Multivariate multinomial logistic regression models were used.

Socioemotional development in infants of pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic: the role of prenatal and postnatal maternal distress

Gabrielle Duguay; Julia Garon-Bissonnette; Roxanne Lemieux (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health

An upsurge in psychological distress was documented in pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study investigated with a longitudinal design whether prenatal and postnatal maternal distress during the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with lower infant socioemotional development. Pregnant women (N = 468, Mage = 30,00, 97.6% White) were recruited during the first COVID-19 mandatory lockdown in Quebec, Canada, from April 2nd to April 13th 2020 and were re-contacted at two months postpartum to complete self-reported measures of general (i.e. not specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic) anxio-depressive symptoms and infant development. Structural equation modeling analyses were performed using maximum likelihood parameter estimation.

Early experience unpredictability in child development as a model for understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: a translational neuroscience perspective

Sihong Liu; Philip A. Fisher

Published: March 2022   Journal: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Extensive evidence links adverse experiences during childhood to a wide range of negative consequences in biological, socioemotional, and cognitive development. Unpredictability is a core element underlying most forms of early adversity; it has been a focus of developmental research for many years and has been receiving increasing attention recently. This article proposes a conceptual model to describe how unpredictable and adverse early experiences affect children’s neurobiological, behavioral, and psychological development in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The effect of an after-school physical activity program on children’s cognitive, social, and emotional health during the COVID-19 pandemic in Nova Scotia

Hilary A. T. Caldwell; Matthew B. Miller; Constance Tweedie (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health
Children’s physical activity participation declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, and these negative changes could lead to longer-term impacts on children’s cognitive, social, and emotional health. Purpose: To determine parent/caregivers’ perceptions of their children’s cognitive function, peer and family relationships, life satisfaction, physical activity, sleep, positive affect, and global health, before and after participating in the Build Our Kids’ Success (BOKS) programming at after-school programs in Fall 2020. Parents of children participating in the BOKS programming at after-school programs in Nova Scotia, Canada, were recruited. At baseline, 159 parents completed the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Patient-Reported Outcomes Measures Information System (PROMIS) parent-proxy questionnaire, and 75 parents completed the measures at follow-up. Independent t-tests were used to determine if there were differences between baseline and follow-up Parent Proxy Questionnaire data.
Sleep and media use among children with neurodevelopmental disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic

Tanaporn Jasmine Wilaisakditipakorn; Carolyn E. Ievers-Landis; Sindhoosha Malay (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: Children's Health Care
Children with neurodevelopmental disorders commonly have sleep problems and higher screen time compared with their typically developing peers. Relationships of their media use to sleep are unknown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seventy-five caregivers/parents of children ages 5–12 years with neurodevelopmental disorders completed surveys during the pandemic, reporting average child media use of 3.35 hours/day (SD = 0.36) and sleep duration of 9.22 hours (SD = 1.27). Media use duration was not significantly related to any sleep outcomes in the total sample. Unexpectedly, in subgroup analyses with COVID-19 exposure/distress variables, greater media use duration significantly related to less sleep-related impairment (p = .012) and disturbance (p = .0004). Clinical implications are that media use/sleep plans should be individually tailored for these at-risk children.
The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on young children and their caregivers

Priscila Costa; Andréia Cascaes Cruz; Annelise Alves (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: Child

The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted child development and the well-being of caregivers, and such evidence ought to be used to inform public policy decisions. This study investigated the impact of COVID-19 on children's behaviours and their caregivers' needs. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 153 caregivers of children (from 0 to 5 years old) from three public daycare centres in Brazil. The Nurturing Care Framework of the World Health Organization was used to guide the assessment of caregivers' needs. Online data collection using a questionnaire was conducted from June to July 2020.

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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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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.