As parts of GTA enter lockdown tonight, some evidence-based tips for parents/caregivers on helping kids through it as happily and healthfully as possible. Much of what follows comes directly from kids’ perspectives about their experience in spring and through fall /1
Kids who kept up physical activity levels during first lockdown reported better well-being outcomes vs those who didn’t. Exercise can protect mood. Tip #1: Make daily time to maintain or increase physical activity. All movement matters, including play or going for a walk. /2
Kids whose parents encourage them to be physically are often more physically active vs. those whose parents who don’t. Tip #2: Keep encouraging your kids to be physically active even if it feels like nagging. Better yet, be active with them. /3
Time outdoors and time outdoors playing are linked to happiness & well-being. But majority of kids are going outside less during Covid, which will be easily exacerbated by winter + 2nd lockdown. Tip #3: Go outside safely and daily, even for short amounts of time. /4
GTA kids are showing worse outcomes across sleep quality, PA, screen time, time outdoors. Kids who attend school in person show better outcomes vs online/hybrid. Tip #4: if you live in GTA w online/hybrid student you might b climbing steeper hill & need 2 work harder 2 support /5
Kids of parents who are high-risk or frontline workers need more collective support (from schools, govt, adult allies) than they were given during first lockdown. Same for kids in apartments or with limited outdoor play/exercise space /6
Online social time w friends is important (video games, sm). So is quality family time—it’s the most commonly cited positive secondary effect of the pandemic. Almost all kids say they worry abt how pandemic is affecting their parents. All are sick of it & just want it 2b over /7
Tip #5: Be kind & generous with your kids. Comfort/reassure them & watch your mood & stress levels around them. Give them time for online social interaction even if it means extra screen time. Kids want to help so acknowledge their heightened sense of empathy during this time. /8

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