Transitions to a new normal: The health of young children in the Maritimes during COVID-19
The efforts of parents/caregivers are essential to control the spread of COVID‑19 and to ensure supportive environments for young children’s health. The states of emergency established in the Maritime provinces from COVID‑19 have led to closures to many services for families with young children, the enforcement of physical distancing principles and abrupt changes to employment conditions and income; therefore, shifting the balance of responsibility on families. The level of risk associated with disruption to family life impacting children’s health and development is unknown as families manage unpredictable challenges while following government and health directives. This research aims to understand how Maritime families with young children (0 to 8 years), are being impacted and manage family life during the COVID‑19 global pandemic. Baseline data on family adjustment already collected provides a foundation for this proposed study that will explore adaptation to family life as the conditions of COVID‑19 change to reflect unique timelines of the spread and management of the disease across three provinces. Followed by an initial survey of more than 2200 respondents, the second phase will include a repeat survey and opportunity for families to participate in telephone interviews designed to better understand the adjustments and adaptations to family life over time. The need to study family life during this changing time is critical to provide well-timed, relevant information on the resources needed to support early childhood development and health and mitigate the potential impacts now and into the future. Policy interventions targeting the needs of young families are necessary to ensure success of public health measures to prevent and manage COVID-19. Ongoing engagement with decision makers will advance the dissemination of the results and development of resources and supports for families with young children.