The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically affected the way American families interacted. There were many challenges during lockdowns. Parents had to learn how to juggle working from home while dealing with children learning remotely in another room. But a new survey conducted by WordFinderX found that the pandemic also spawned many positive new traditions that encouraged more intimacy among family members.
Experts say that over the past 15 months, families spent more time together than they were previously used to, and this changed many of the habits and traditions that were prevalent in the pre-pandemic era. The researchers set out to find out how these daily traditions changed because of COVID-19 and which ones are likely to stay.
The results are surprising. More than 1,000 parents contacted said that the COVID-19 pandemic created new family rituals and, in many ways, helped parents and kids bond more closely. Among the highlights of the exclusive survey was the finding that nearly 80% of families reported they now spend more time together since the beginning of the pandemic. And 93% of parents said they felt more connected to their kids due to new pandemic-era traditions.
In addition, 65% of fathers and 60% of mothers reported that they had better relationships with their children since COVID-19.
The survey found that 52% of respondents said that their new family activities helped reduce COVID-19 stress. The top family activities that helped to not only reduce stress but also improve quality time and communication were sharing daily activities, game nights, and Zoom meetings with extended family members. Interestingly, parents with children older than 18 were the most likely to say these new traditions decreased stress, while parents of kids 4 and younger were more apt to say that these new activities increased stress.
''Most families experienced more time together than ever before during the pandemic,'' the study authors wrote. ''Unsurprisingly, parents felt most of the impact of this shift. Fifty-eight percent of parents were somewhat stressed by this increased family action, and more than a third felt a lot or extreme stress as a result.''
The survey also revealed the most popular family bonding activities were family walks, movie nights, group exercise and game nights. Other popular activities included arts and crafts and Zoom meetings with other family members. The parents said that family walks, sharing family stories, family or themed dinners and movie nights would be traditions they'd like to keep after the pandemic.
''The biggest change seemed to be that parents got to know their children better,'' the researchers said. ''A whopping 84% of parents reported they felt they knew their children better after weathering the pandemic together.''
But the increased family closeness also led to more arguments, according to the survey. More than a third of respondents thought that so much close interaction generated conflict.
Overall, the survey found that 71% of parents said they would miss the extra time spent with their kids when things get back to normal. But more than a fifth of parents of children aged 4 and younger said they were looking forward to a break from intensive family time. This is most likely due to the hardships faced by families with young children without access to daycare, according to the Urban Institute.
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