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Covid-19's impact on families with young children

Covid 19 pandemic greatly affected families. Whereas children compared to adults appeared to face slighter Covid 19 symptoms, sudden alterations in relationships, routines, and resources due to limitations on physical contact have huge effects on families with younger kids. Having shut down all learning institutions, child care, physical activities, and family gatherings, massive disruption of kids' support and social links have been disrupted. Depression brought by Covid 19 pandemic has been associated with additional duties for parents, and forceful adaptation is impounded on them as they try to adapt to the responsibilities that were never there before the pandemic. The new roles included being caregivers, playmates, and educators as they stressfully attended to completely transformed working conditions that greatly affected social and financial situations. On the other hand, families that received greater support from parents during the Covid 19 pandemic had less stress compared to others.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics demonstrates how a family is made up. When two people who share a social, economic, and emotional bond come together in marriage while living under the same roof, a family is formed. Whether they choose to have children or not does matter. However, when the absence of children is not their choice, then barrenness could be the cause. They would seek medical attention for infertility reasons and have themselves checked, and through the Assisted Reproductive Technology, their infertility problem would be attended to appropriately. Marriage between two people, in this case, goes for the opposite sex and same-sex marriage as well (Australian Institute of Health & Welfare, 2021).

On the other hand, a family can equally be sustained with just a single parent. In this case, either a mother or a father is involved and responsible for raising the kids on their own. Should neither of the parents exist, another extended relative can be chosen to raise the kids, forming another type of family. Traditionally, the term 'family' is described as a group of individuals living under one roof and usually involves children and parents. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has a different description of the meaning of family. According to it, whether couples have children or not, it is still a family.

Research activities have been triggered rapidly across the world due to the pandemic. Both family and patient voices are considered increasingly important to the priority setting and research agenda (Productivity Commission,2015). Comprehending the emotional, physical, and cognitive repercussions of the pandemic that families went through will give information on the techniques to offer parental support and kids during and after the Covid 19 pandemic. Voices of patients and family are therefore more valuable as they inform medical study priorities, research styles, execution plans, and translation strategies that directly affect them.

As individuals continue to feel the impacts of the covid 19 pandemic, companies and families in different countries show alarming mental stress figures being shown via impact research (Baxter, 2015). Among these organizations was the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the Xfactor Collective's Reset 2020 National Impact Need Study, responsible for discovering the mental health which Covid 19 impounded on the workforce, more so in the NFP industry. During the Covid 19 pandemic, many parents went through accelerated pressures and eradication of social support as their mental health continued to be implicated. A survey conducted in the United States showed that a bigger percentage suggested that the pandemic brought about financial concerns, social separation, huge criticisms, loneliness, and sadness, which affected how they parented. Internationally, the closure of learning institutions and child care and the limitation of the activities children used to engage in after school exerted more pressure on parents. This is because a balance had to be set between supervision, sole providers, and teaching kids while undergoing severe financial difficulties ad emotional stress.

Defining families

Generally, families are affected by the interruptions brought about by a pandemic. Such pressures affect families differently regarding the difference in medical and social inequalities. These inequalities include less social and financial resources and overpopulated residential places with less or limited internet access and technology (Everymind. 2014). These stressors collide and have led to a rise in domestic violence. Research that is still emerging has indicated increased regularity of physical punishment of kids and shouting at children since the beginning of the pandemic.

Covid 19 pandemic affected some people in the worst way more than others. Therefore, this paper will look into how people who are greatly affected by a pandemic can be assisted. The help of this kind is associated with numerous approaches and strategies to ensure that everyone gets the help they deserve. Families that needed more support were the low-income families in a case in Australia. A good number of Australian families were undergoing financial difficulties. Paying for basic needs such as clothing, food and being part of the regular practices of the family became a problem due to a lack of sufficient income. The pandemic brought new regularities such as mandatory hygiene and additional items to be bought to prevent the disease (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2021). This led to other financial requirements. A strength-based approach, theoretical ideologies, and a family-based approach are among the approaches that will be used to explain how families will receive the help they deserve for them to live. It is also important to note that this reflection can be executed in practice either presently or in the new future. The pandemic taught people a lot about unexpected outcomes, pressure, mental health problems, domestic violence, and adaptation techniques that people never foresaw coming. These experiences can help in future preparations, emotionally, mentally, and even physically, for any form of an epidemic that might occur. 

 The Federal Government of Australia's reaction to Covid-19 has been instant and rapid. The Australian Government has released three tranches of economic interventions since 12 March 2020 to offer support to households, businesses, and individuals who will face financial difficulties due to the pandemic. Initially, the Government committed AUD 299 billion to support the economy and the people of Australia due to the Covid 19 pandemic that led to an economic downturn. The 2020-2021 Australian Federal Budget resulted in the general support, to sum up to AUD607 billion plus another AUD 257 billion channelled into financial support (Qarnain & Bathrinath, 2021). Employers were allowed to access the subsidy wage after an assessment on eligibility was conducted by an apprenticeship of Australia. Some of its details included workers having the ability for a 50% wage subsidy, employers getting a reimbursement of up to AUD 21,000 per trainee, qualified small enterprises, especially those that could manage to employ less than 20 employees, would retain a trainee apprenticeship.

The Australian Government ensured that superannuation drawdown rates were reduced for account-based pensions and the same products by 50% between the 2019-2020 to 2021 financial years (Maritz & Buck, 2020). This intervention was meant to assist retirees in controlling the volatility effect in financial markets on the savings made from their retirement.

The importance of patient and family voices in research

In Australia, some parents had to extend their shifts at work so that nothing essential could be left out. Others had to change their work schedule entirely to stay home and assist children with home-schooling programs and give care to their family members who had become of age. Other's people felt like their workplace abandoned them, and they were left to survive on their own in the unpredictable, precarious environment. In the survey, a parent requested that they be stood down so that the obligations of her family could be met. The consequences of distinct attention and conflicting responsibilities on a person's psychological security are possibly huge (Harmon et al.,2021). However, individuals must proceed with personal care and keep in constant contact with each other and be open with their bosses and the people they love. The Australian Government encouraged everybody to be part of the available initiatives to help them with their families to guarantee safety.

To protect families in Australia, the Federal Government decided to execute lockdown interventions. This included the shutting down of borders, the barrier to travel, ban of group gatherings, compulsory working from home, and closure of eateries and clubs. In April 2020, the incidence of Covid 19 rates appeared nationally. Then, over 3000 positive cases were affirmed daily. In May 2020, the pandemic's rates were going down; hence, the lockdown became lost among provinces (Solekhah, H. (2020). Businesses began reopening as workers were rehired.

Nevertheless, signs that the pandemic was already bearing effects on the mental health of children in Australia were already present. For instance, reports demonstrated that children made dramatic call-ins through the help of Kids Help Phone, with a 48% rise in call-ins concerning social abandonment, a 42% rise in call-ins concerning stress and anxiety, and a 28% rise call-ins concerning physical abuse. Professionals advocate that interference with regularities and services, together with accelerated family pressures, social abandonment, and domestic violence, were responsible for bringing conditions that put at risk kids' cognitive medical problems on an extraordinary scale, where kids who originated from marginalized, disadvantaged homes likely to have themselves disproportionated. As a result, young individuals at first seem not to be vulnerable to the physical effects of the Covid 19 pandemic within the settings of their families. This is mostly concerning since studies regularly show that kids' initial stress exposures may bear long-lasting impacts.

Kids and families are, in addition, supported by the system of social ecology where forced adaptation has been imposed on them to aid and ensure family needs are satisfied, normally with little information. Closing of child care and learning institutions because of the pandemic is not just about the interference of normal classroom learning, but at the same time for systems-level loss safeguards like programs related to nutrition, vaccination clinics, after-school care, and counselling services that are focused on mitigation of consequences of social inequalities and health consequences among vulnerable families and children (Bdair, 2021). Despite learning institutions and places of work beginning the reopening process, there were raised concerns about the medical risk of going back to crowded spaces negatively affecting families with lower incomes, fewer resources, and few options for going back to work. In addition to this, care settings for children, families, and schools are nestled within medical authorities and structures of the Government that define plenty of the regulations, services, and work supports present as well to parents as the existence of these aids over the pandemic.

Mental health implications of the pandemic

Some families were forced apart by the pandemic, as they resided in different countries. Many of them have found little contentment in facetime or other channels, while for other people, the separation implied complete blackout with no calls, facetime, or any form of contact. People continue to practice social distance regardless as a form of being safe. The Australian Government offers a Child Care Subsidy to assist kids with their Ealy childhood education programs and programs of care as well. The Australian Government set aside nearly $3 billion in 2020 to keep childcare open and existing for important employees and families with vulnerable kids (Picchio & Mayer, 2019). There were 1,311,630 kids in December 2020 who had gone to the Child Care Subsidy confirmed centre for children's care. Out of the total number of children, 1,266,800 kids were qualified to get a Child Care Subsidy. The attendance rates are the same as that in December 2019, which indicates that kids are going back to child care and utility is back to the levels of pre-COVID. Covid 19 pandemic happening in 2021 may bear the same effects on the rates of attendance that were previously seen in 2020.

The Government of Australia has, since 2008, offered to help states and boundaries to raise preschool attendance via the National Partnership Agreements on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education. The program targets to give global access to preschool quality initiatives for all kids in the year before 600 hours of daily full-time schooling (Picchio & Mayer, 2019). By 2020, the Australian Government had ensured around 334,800 kids between the ages of four and five were registered in preschool, reducing 0.3% from 2019. More kids were registered in the preschool initiative via a daycare-based service.

The pandemic has taken a depressing approach on very many people worldwide. However, families and children are the ones being affected the most. Before the pandemic, kids lived in extreme poverty levels just like adults did. Currently, the number of kids living in poverty could be more than the initial number of 117 million; hence 700 kids are left with uncertain futures (Cloney & Adams, 2016). A verified solution exists, though. This solution can protect kids and families from financial disasters, ensure that their livelihoods are restored, and offer the needed support kids desire to succeed through cash transfers. Families eligible to receive money transfers have the opportunity to access food and the common medical care and ensure their kids go to school. At the same time, they are most likely to undergo debilitating stress, resulting in poor cognitive health and violence. There are some examples of how money transfers help families in different parts of the world, bringing out the difference intended in the lives of vulnerable kids and their families.

The Australian Government has ensured that it has provided emergency financial transfer initiatives for unofficial workers residing in urban regions and has offered salvation for struggling parents to afford food. The emergency financial transfer has assisted in expanding the businesses belonging to the most affected families (Paz-Albo Prieto, 2018). It has made life a little more affordable than it was before. At least the parents can afford the basic wants like food for their children.

Different effects on families

This discussion is relevant and can be used appropriately in practice. It provides the theories and approaches needed to handle a pandemic. It involves different case studies of other countries and how they navigated through the Covid 19 pandemic and finally came out of it. Covid 19 affected children and families the most. Some families were affected more than others (Boyle & Anderson, 2020). These low-income families had no other options to fend for themselves after the pandemic wiped out their businesses. Complete Lockdown And Travel ban could not allow people to move freely for business purposes.

As a person who works in child care, it is essential to note that children are most affected in this situation. Lack of food to eat, clothes to wear, school to go to, and no physical activities to engage in is as well as having a pandemic within a pandemic. It is vital to know that as a person working in childcare, strategies of giving aid to families to ensure their survival is laid on top. Just like the Australian Government ensured it was accountable for its citizens in their time of need, children and their less fortunate parents should be the topmost priority. Children are the future leaders. (Closing the Gap Information Repository-Productivity Commission, 2022). As such, they must be nurtured and prepared cognitively through undergoing training. If this fails to happen, then there is no guaranteed positive future.

As an expert working with an organization responsible for children's care, your role must be known and familiar to you. This is not an area where misappropriation of funds is needed. Misuse of funds in this sector can be highly catastrophic since families who need the money for survival will miss it; hence, one will have failed in their duty as an expert. More research should be carried out on the effects of pandemics such as the covid 19 pandemic, which affected the whole world. This way, we get to know the extent to which we can prepare for the worst rather than being caught unaware.

Conclusion

Covid 19pandemic affected every country around the world. It was not based on specific countries only. The rich and third-world countries were all affected by the pandemic. For this reason, governments from different countries had to impose measures that would ensure the safety of citizens. To do this, country borders were closed and travel banned. Complete lockdowns were also impounded within countries, and measures such as social distancing were introduced. Wearing of masks and hand sanitization was also introduced. However, the measure that was laid forth did not leave things unchanged. Living styles all over the world changed. Many people slotted their jobs and ventured into different activities to survive. Children were forced to stop schooling and stay indoors since the education calendar was ruined entirely. Many people worldwide tried adjusting economically, but a more significant percentage of people could not manage. Struggles became the new norm. It forced the governments to venture in and help the extremely needy individuals and prevent them from starving to death. This exercise did not take place in all countries, though.  

References

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2021). Relationship in Household (RLHP). Relationship in household (RLHP) | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au)

Australian Institute of Health & Welfare. (2021). Childcare and early childhood education. Childcare and early childhood education - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (aihw.gov.au)

Baxter, J. (2015). Child care and early childhood education in Australia.

Bdair, I. A. (2021). Nursing students and faculty members' perspectives about online learning during COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative study. Teaching and Learning in Nursing, 16(3), 220-226.

Boyle, C., & Anderson, J. (2020). The justification for inclusive education in Australia. Prospects, 49(3), 203-217.

Cloney, D., Tayler, C., Hattie, J., Cleveland, G., & Adams, R. (2016). The selection of ECEC programs by Australian families: Quality, availability, usage and family demographics. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 41(4), 16-27.

Closing the Gap Information Repository-Productivity Commission. (2022). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are engaged in high quality, culturally appropriate early childhood education in their early years. Indicator.

Everymind. (2014). Connections: A Resource for Early Childhood Educators About Children's Well-being. Connections: A resource for early childhood educators about children's wellbeing | Everymind

Harmon, D. J., Attardi, S. M., Barremkala, M., Bentley, D. C., Brown, K. M., Dennis, J. F., ... & Farkas, G. J. (2021). An analysis of anatomy education before and during Covid?19: May-August 2020. Anatomical sciences education, 14(2), 132-147.

Maritz, A., Perenyi, A., De Waal, G., & Buck, C. (2020). Entrepreneurship as the unsung hero during the current COVID-19 economic crisis: Australian perspectives. Sustainability, 12(11), 4612.

Paz-Albo Prieto, J. (2018). Enhancing the quality of early childhood education and care: ECEC tutors' perspectives of family engagement in Spain. Early Child Development and Care, 188(5), 613-623.

Picchio, M., & Mayer, S. (2019). Transitions in ECEC services: the experience of children from migrant families. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 27(2), 285-296.

Productivity Commission. (2015). Childcare and early childhood learning: inquiry report.

Qarnain, S. S., Muthuvel, S., & Bathrinath, S. (2021). Review on government action plans to reduce energy consumption in buildings amid COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Materials Today: Proceedings, 45, 1264-1268.

Solekhah, H. (2020). Distance learning of Indonesian early childhood education (PAUD) during the covid-19 pandemic. International Journal of Emerging Issues in Early Childhood Education, 2(2), 105-115.

Tayler, C., Cloney, D., Adams, R., Ishimine, K., Thorpe, K., & Nguyen, T. K. C. (2016). Assessing the effectiveness of Australian early childhood education and care experiences: study protocol. BMC Public Health, 16(1), 1-12.
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