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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Assessment of parent–teacher relationships in early childhood education programs during the COVID-19 pandemic

Grace Keengwe; Ariri Onchwari

Published: December 2022   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
Relationships between families and schools are important in the educational experiences of young children. However, the COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2019 and spread rapidly around the world disrupted many families, teachers, early childhood programs, and other child-support institutions. There is much to be learned on how this pandemic specifically affected parent–teacher relationships. This study examined whether parent, teacher and other program characteristics had an impact on early childhood parents’ ratings of the quality of their relationships with teachers.
Children's services and the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy: a study with educators and parents

Maria Letizia Bosoni

Published: December 2022   Journal: Children & Society
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptive changes across different life experiences essential to children's growth and development, including early childcare services and schools, thus threatening precious opportunities for children in early childhood to learn. The pandemic has also undermined the collaborative and alliance relationship between childcare services and families which has been widely considered an important aspect of modern services. This paper presents and discusses results from a mixed-method exploratory study with early childcare services for children between 0 and 6 years in Italy in 2021, involving both teachers and parents, to understand experiences, educational practices put in place in childcare services, feelings, resources and risks perceived by families and teachers.
Impact of the COVID-19 kindergarten closure on overweight and obesity among 3- to 7-year-old children

Xiang Long; Xing‑Ying Li; Hong Jiang (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: World Journal of Pediatrics

Knowledge on the impact of the temporary kindergarten closure policy under COVID-19 in 2020 on childhood overweight and obesity is inadequate. We aimed to examine differences in rates of overweight and obesity from 2018 to 2021 among kindergarten children aged 3–7 years. Overweight was defined as body mass index (BMI) > 1 standard deviation (SD) for age and sex, and obesity was defined as BMI > 2 SD for age and sex. Generalized linear mixed modeling was used for analysis.

Family predictors of physical activity change during the COVID-19 lockdown in preschool children in Germany

Franziska Beck; Stefen C. E. Schmidt; Alexander Woll (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Journal of Behavioral Medicine
The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with crucial changes in children’s daily life including their physical activity (PA) and screen time (ST). Among preschool children, the family represents an important factor for sufficient PA levels by being the gatekeeper for PA. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the influence of the family environment, specifically SES, parental support, and having siblings on COVID-19-related changes of PA and ST behavior in 317 (170 boys, 147 girls) German preschool children using longitudinal data.
Mental health of hothers of preschoolers amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan: a cross-sectional study

Tomoko Sumiyoshi; Yukiko Satoh; Mio Tanaka

Published: December 2022   Journal: The Open Public Health Journal

The COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s emergency declarations in Japan may have influenced people’s mental health. In particular, among women, there are concerns about the occurrence of neuroses, such as depression and anxiety. This study aimed to identify the factors related to mental distress among women in Japan who were raising children amid the COVID-19 pandemic. An online survey was conducted in 2020 among 730 Japanese women raising preschoolers. The survey included questions about child-rearing, anxiety, and the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). The average age of the respondents was 34.4 years (21–52 years), and 31.5% of the respondents were living in “Prefectures under Specific Cautions” areas.

Preschoolers' parent and teacher/director perceptions of returning to early childcare education during the COVID-19 pandemic

Meg Bruening; Camila Nadalet; Nathan Ashok (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: BMC Public Health

Early Care and Education (ECE) sites are critical hubs for social, emotional, and physical learning development of preschool children (ages 3–5). The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted ECE enrollment and participation; until June 2022, preschool children in the US were ineligible for COVID-19 vaccines. It is critical to identify perceptions of teachers/directors and parents to enhance safe return-to-school efforts. Focus groups (n = 7; 22 participants) were conducted with ECE teachers/directors throughout Arizona to examine perceptions of COVID-19 testing for families and staff at ECE sites, and current and possible COVID-19 mitigation strategies during Summer 2021. Preschool parents from underserved families in Phoenix (n = 41) completed a brief survey on their perceptions of benefits of ECE for themselves and their children, thoughts on COVID-19 mitigation strategies, and timing for safe return to school during Spring 2021. Focus groups were transcribed and analyzed for themes using constant comparison.

Family literacy practices and their contribution to emergent literacy skills during the COVID-19 pandemic

Joana Cruz; Maria Mackaaij; Helena Bilimória (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Written Language & Literacy
To develop emergent literacy skills, preschool children need to be supported by adults in a rich and stimulating environment. During the first lockdown due to the SARS-CoV2 virus, there were several social, family, technological, and individual barriers to promote family literacy and emergent literacy. The present study aimed to provide insight on the relationship between family literacy practices and emergent literacy skills among preschool children after the first confinement due to COVID-19 pandemic. This study included 102 participants, which consisted of parents (90.2% mothers) and one preschool child per parent. Results showed evidence of a higher frequency of training and teaching activities than family literacy playful activities. There were statistically significant differences in emergent skills, according to the frequency of family playful activities and family training and teaching activities.
Increased incidence of overweight and obesity among preschool Swedish children during the COVID-19 pandemic

Anna Fäldt; Sahar Nejat; Sofia Edvinsson Sollander (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: European Journal of Public Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has had wide effects on child health globally. Increased prevalence of childhood obesity has been observed by a number of countries during the pandemic. The absence of a formal societal lockdown during the pandemic, made Sweden stand out compared to other countries. This study aims to examine changes in BMI among preschool children in Sweden before and during COVID-19 pandemic. Retrospective population-based cross-sectional study, with longitudinal follow-up for a portion of the children. The study included 25 049 children from three Swedish regions, with growth measures at 3- (n = 16 237), 4- (n = 14 437) and 5-years of age (n = 11 711). Care Need Index was used as a socioeconomic parameter at health centre level.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic widened the urban-rural gap in early child development in China? Evidence from the rural side

Chuchu Zheng; Yongping Yu; Juncen Lu (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Early Education and Development
This national survey study aims to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on early development of rural preschoolers in China and compare the urban-rural gap. Participants were 11,282 rural preschool teachers recruited through the stratified random sampling method. They completed the survey online via wjx.com, the dominating online survey platform in China. The study compared the results with our previous research on 22,466 urban teachers and found: (1) most preschoolers in rural China had development improvement during the quarantine; (2) there were no significant urban-rural differences in early development; (3) three distinct profiles of rural preschoolers emerged: the low, medium, and high levels. Those 3–4 year-olds in public preschools in western China tended to have development loss or even development regression; and (4) increased parental involvement was found the significant predictor of rural preschoolers’ development improvement during the quarantine.
Mental health problems of preschool children during the COVID-19 home quarantine: a cross-sectional study in Shanghai, China

Chen-huan Ma; Lian Jiang; Li-ting Chu (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology

 As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic spread across Shanghai, China, in late February 2022 and protective measures to mitigate its impact were enacted, this study aimed to estimate how home quarantine affected the mental health of preschool children in Shanghai, China and explore the association between lifestyle factors and mental health during this special period. A cross-sectional online survey of 2,110 preschool students from Shanghai, China, was conducted during May 20–25,2022. Preschooler’ mental health (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, SDQ) and daily activities were reported by parents.

Preschooler stressor-related thoughts and worries during the COVID-19 pandemic: development and validation of a caregiver-report instrument

M. Vasileva; M. L. Marsac; E. Alisic (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Traumatology
There is little evidence on cognitions that are associated with emotional and behavioral problems in preschoolers during stressful events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. This article presents the initial development and validation of a caregiver-report instrument, the Preschooler Stressor-related Thoughts and Worries (PSTW) scale, developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, caregivers from two countries reported on their child’s cognitions at baseline (T₀) and three months later (T₁; age 3–5 years; Australia: N = 559; United States: N = 346). Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted with the Australian sample at T₀ and confirmed with the U.S. sample at T₀. Exploratory factor analysis suggested a one-factor model including 10 items.
Movement behaviors during COVID-19 among Latin American/Latino toddlers and pre-schoolers in Chile, Mexico and the US

Alejandra Jáuregui; Deborah Salvo; Nicolas Aguilar-Farias (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Scientific Reports
Movement behaviors (physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep) have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This study reports changes in and factors that influenced movement behaviors during COVID-19 among Latin American/Latino children aged 1 to 5 years in Chile, Mexico, and the USA. It conducted a cross-sectional study between April and August 2020. Caregivers of 4,136 children (mean age [SD], 3.1 [1.4] years; 51% boys) reported family and household characteristics and changes in their child’s movement behaviors.
Parenting and adjustment problems among preschoolers during COVID-19

Jamie M. Ostrov; Dianna Murray-Close; Kristin J. Perry (et al.)

Published: September 2022   Journal: Journal of Child and Family Studies
A critical area of developmental science explores factors that confer risk or protection as young children and their families experience stressful circumstances related to sociohistorical events. This study contributes to this important area by assessing relations between family context and child adjustment as children transitioned from preschool to home learning during COVID-19, and whether children higher in stress levels, indexed by morning basal cortisol, were more strongly affected. Parents of 74 children (Mage = 53.56 months, SDage = 3.68 months) completed reports spanning the home learning transition; children’s pre-COVID-19 transition salivary cortisol levels were assessed. Path analyses were used to test the preregistered study aims. Significant interactions were decomposed using simple slopes and Preacher’s Regions of Significance (ROS) method. Across the COVID-19 transition to home-based school, children with higher morning basal cortisol experienced the sharpest increase in anger when exposed to harsh/inconsistent parenting contexts. Importantly, these effects held when controlling for household chaos, socioeconomic resources, and supportive parenting. Parallel models with supportive parenting were also tested and are discussed. This study is one of the first to test and provide support for biological sensitivity to context theory within the context of a natural experiment like COVID-19.
COVID-19 pandemic impact on family life and exacerbated emotional and behavioral health among preschool children: a longitudinal study

Xiuxiu Ding; Haixia Liu; Hao Wang (et al.)

Published: September 2022   Journal: International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology

This study aimed to examine associations of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on family life with emotional and behavioral health among preschool children. A longitudinal study including 1595 preschool children aged 3–6 years and their families was conducted in Anhui Province. The linear regression was applied to examine associations between the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on family life and emotional and behavioral health.

Emotional and behavioral health among Portuguese toddlers during the COVID-19 crisis: the impact of social isolation and caregiving distress

Carolina Toscano; Patrícia Lopes; Cláudia Ramos (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Child Indicators Research
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant changes in the lives of families with young children. The present study aimed to explore whether child social isolation due to the COVID-19 crisis was associated with toddlers’ emotional and behavioral health (EBH) and whether this association was moderated by caregiving distress, during the second mandatory lockdown in Portugal. Participants included 315 toddlers and their primary caregivers. Caregivers were invited to complete a set of questionnaires in order to report about toddlers’ social isolation from other significant family members, other children, and activities outside the house, and to provide ratings of caregiving distress and toddlers’ EBH. Family socioeconomic factors, including stressors resulted from the pandemic, were also measured.
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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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