Throughout 2020 and 2021, Public Health Scotland (PHS) ran three national surveys to hear directly from the parents and carers of younger children about how the COVID-19 pandemic, and the associated restrictions, had affected their families. PHS heard how the pandemic had impacted on relationships, behaviour, mood and parental wellbeing, with negative outcomes reported more frequently in low-income households compared to high-income households.
Now, three years after the COVID-19 pandemic began, PHS is checking in again to see how young children and their families are doing. Parents and carers of a child aged between 0–11 years old are being asked to complete a new national survey, even if they have taken part in previous surveys or are caring for a child born out with the time of the pandemic restrictions. The survey is running for a fourth time from 8–30 June 2023, and PHS is keen to gauge any ripple effect, as well as any impact of the ongoing cost of living crisis.
Dr Grant Aitken, Public Health Intelligence Adviser at PHS, said:
"It's important that we find out if the challenges we heard about previously are reducing, or if there are still some families who are struggling to cope with lasting impacts of the pandemic.
"Equally, it could be that some impacts are only becoming apparent now, and it’s important we capture these if so. This includes understanding people’s financial needs, with many families struggling to afford basics like food, housing costs or household bills."
As with previous surveys, findings will be used by PHS to support practitioners, service providers and policy makers to respond to children and families in need, in areas covering childcare, education and health. Doing so is vital to help create a Scotland where all children and their families are given the chance to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, and to thrive.