Parents' perspectives on the impact of covid-related restrictions to access to youth sport experiences in nova scotia


Public health measures including closure of schools, restricting access to businesses, facilities and community programming and lockdowns have been the most effective approaches in slowing the spread of covid-19; however, evidence points to these restrictions leading to decreases in physical activity, increases in sedentary behaviour, and reports of worse mental health among youth. The current study explored parents' perspectives on the impact of covid-related restrictions on youth sport experiences in Nova Scotia. Parents of youth (8-17yrs) who participated in and planned to participate in organized sport completed a survey exploring the impacts restrictions on sport had on their kids, on them as parents, concerns moving forward, as well as any positives to stem from the restrictions. Thematic content analysis using the key questions as a guiding structure was used. The primary impacts on kids were boredom (reported by 60% of participants), loss of social life (38%), and irritability (32%). Parents experienced loss of social connections (18%), lost opportunities to watch their kids flourish (18%), and anxiety around their kids' mental health (16%). Specific fears for their children moving forward included loss of sport skill development/competitiveness (17%), and a decline in mental health (15%). More time with family (37%) and being less busy (22%) were reported as positives. These findings (a) contribute to the literature examining the impacts of covid-related restrictions, (b) underscore the importance of sport to families as a whole, and (c) bring forward the voice of parents in understanding the effect of policies that impact youth sport experiences.