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Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on childrens wellbeing

4 min read

Dr Ellie Cannon, GP and Gymfinity Kids’ Development Ambassador share her perspectives on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s wellbeing and her top tips for the new school year.

  • Over a third of UK parents say that the pandemic has negatively impacted their child’s mental health and over a quarter reported an impact on their child’s physical health and fitness.
  • Dr Ellie Cannon, Gymfinity Kids’ new Development Ambassador, shares her perspectives on how to combat this and her top tips to adopt healthy habits at the start of the new school year.

Gymfinity Kids, the UK’s first provider of activity-based clubs and nurseries based on movement, development and nourishment, today publishes findings that reveal the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s wellbeing.

The pandemic has undoubtedly disrupted the life of every child in the UK, exacerbating many of the pre-existing issues relating to children’s health and development, whilst also creating unavoidable barriers for those eager to lead healthy, active lives.

Having seen how the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted many of its own members Gymfinity Kids commissioned a survey to better understand the extent of this across the UK[1]. The findings revealed that 35% of UK parents say that the pandemic has negatively impacted their child’s mental health and 28% reported an effect on their child’s physical health and fitness.

Parents also shared their perspectives on the barriers which have impeded children’s ability to keep active since the start of the pandemic. 49% cited the closure of either school facilities or sports facilities and clubs as the biggest barrier to children’s ability to keep active [2], demonstrating the importance of these facilities for supporting the health of children from babies through to teenagers. 23% also felt that the main reason for children’s inactivity since March 2020 was children spending excessive amounts of time on screens.

Sharing her perspectives on these findings, Dr Ellie Cannon, Development Ambassador at Gymfinity Kids, said: “It is troubling to hear about the immense impact the pandemic had on children’s mental and physical wellbeing: our survey highlights just how important exercise facilities and movement opportunities are for all young people. The new school year now brings a chance for a fresh start for all children to get moving and stay healthy, mentally and physically.”

As a practising GP and expert on family health, Dr Ellie knows how best to support parents and children. She joined the business as Development Ambassador in August 2021 and along with Nourishment Ambassador, Annabel Karmel MBE, and Movement Ambassador, Imogen Mohammed, is supporting Gymfinity Kids with guidance on enhancing children’s mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

At the start of this new school year, Dr Ellie shares her top tips to combat the negative impact of the pandemic, to adopt healthy habits and to support children’s mental wellbeing.

Dr Ellie’s top tips for the new school year.

  1. Any movement is good for development whether that’s running up the stairs or dancing round the kitchen before breakfast: just get those bodies moving!
  2. Limit gaming time to just a short weekend activity: the hours spent sitting on a games console is not healthy
  3. Make walking to school normal whatever the weather at least 3 days a week
  4. Ask the kids what exercise they’d like to try: perhaps they’ve always wanted to try the parallel bars or diving. If it’s their choice, they’ll want to do it  
  5. Ask their friends: sign your kids up for afterschool activities with friends or get their mates round for a kickabout. If friends are in, they will be interested and having fun whilst moving which is good for their mental health and social development too.
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