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Pre-K kids feeling COVID-19 stress, study finds

The COVID-19 pandemic has a negative effect on the whole family, with many toddlers feeling more irritable and agitated than usual, and more prone to anger.

This, according to Observatoire des Tout-Petits, a non-profit organization that seeks to promote the well-being of newborns to five-year-olds.

The results, released Tuesday, offers a look at how Quebec families are coping with the second wave of COVID-19.

Half of all respondents say the pandemic will have had a negative effect on their children.

“Toddlers react to all these upheavals in their lives,” says Fannie Dagenais, director of the Observatoire.

Read more: Pandemic taking its toll on children

Parents are stressed, too: 51 per cent say that their level of stress in the face of the current situation related to COVID-19 is “high.” About 30 per cent of parents surveyed say their current stress is higher than it was during the first wave.

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Low-income families are harder hit by COVID-19, as unemployment has risen and food banks have become overwhelmed.

A major concern for parents, according to the study, is possible daycare closures.

Parents also report not being able to count on their usual support network.

Among other negative consequences, 44 per cent of parents with toddlers say the pandemic has affected their ability to remain calm with their child.

Only 35 per cent of parents say the pandemic has had no effect on their toddlers.

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The same survey did however reveal some positive news, with 75 per cent of parents saying that the pandemic has allowed them to spend more time with their children.

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“This is good news in itself, as the time a parent spends with their child promotes the creation of a secure attachment bond, which is essential for the child’s development and self-esteem,” Dagenais says.

Immediate help is available for parents who need it:

  • LigneParents: Intervention service accessible day and night, free, confidential and offered to all parents of children aged 0 to 20 years old 1-800-361-5085
  • Info-Social: To quickly reach a professional in psychosocial intervention, dial 811

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