A silver lining in the COVID-19 pandemic has been fathers spending more quality time with their children. But will those gains be retained as restrictions are lifted and busy lives resume?

Fathers enjoy more time with children during COVID-19 pandemic

New studies find dads are more engaged in their children’s lives. But will those gains stick?

Two new studies suggest COVID-19 has brought fathers closer to their children.

A online survey conducted in May by the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF) reported 38 per cent of respondents feeling coronavirus restrictions have had a positive impact on their roles as fathers. Forty eight per cent said they are more aware of their importance as a father, 59 per cent felt closer to their children and 48 per cent have decided to be more engaged as a father in the future.

“I’ve been off work since March and it’s been stressful, but the upside is I’ve been able to spend a lot more time with my daughters,” said Dal Watson from Burnaby. “I’m a professional chef and I’ve been spending time in the kitchen at home teaching my kids how to cook. We’re also sitting down as a family and eating together, which was something that couldn’t happen very often when I was working.

“I’m grateful for the extra time I have with my family.”

READ MORE: Pictures of dad in the Chilliwack Progress Father’s Day slide-show

READ MORE: Chilliwack author pens memoir of her dad

The study was conducted by Intensions Consulting. The company’s managing partner, Nick Black, said 62 per cent of men reported sitting down to more meals with their children.

“Sharing meals can provide an important opportunity for family connection,” Black noted. “There is considerable evidence that eating meals together can have a positive impact on kids’ mental health, nutritional choices, school performance, and can even reduce the incidence of drug and alcohol use.”

The Men’s Initiative at UBC followed up the first study with a series of virtual focus groups. When asked to describe their family dynamic before COVID-19, many fathers talked about long work days with commuting, eating on the run, children’s schedules – including sports, extracurricular and social activities – and family members experiencing lives lived parallel with each other.

The men worry they’ll be drawn back into that hectic existence as COVID-19 restrictions ease, and lose the gains they’ve made with their families.

“If the COVID-19 lockdown accelerates the movement of dads to be more engaged with their children, that could be a lasting benefit from a tragic public health crisis,” said Dr. Larry Goldenberg, Founding Chair of the CMHF. “It is clear, however, that men realize it will be a challenge to continue spending quality time with their families once the daily stresses of commuting and working long hours are reintroduced to their lives.”

For tips on how to retain a healthy balance between work and family, check out DontChangeMuch.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Peak on the lower Fraser River expected to arrive Monday

Peak predicted for July 6, with flows decreasing from there: River Forecast Centre

Single family home sales in Chilliwack surge in June

Sales reach the highest level in three years with prices rising due to pent-up demand

Federal government contributing nearly $4 million to First Nations community centre

The S.A.Y. Health and Community Centre will be built on a piece of land off Chilliwack River Road

Chilliwack fire crews extinguish blaze in mobile office unit

Crews from 3 halls were out in the early hours of Sunday morning to put out the fire on Railway Ave

PHOTOS: Historic look at Chilliwack activities we are missing in the pandemic

Images from the Chilliwack Museum & Archives show sporting events everyone hopes to get back to soon

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

B.C. extends income assistance exemption for COVID-19

Provincial program to match Ottawa’s CERB, student pay

Broadway veteran Nick Cordero dies from coronavirus complications

During Cordero’s hospitalization, Kloots sent him daily videos of her and their 1-year-old son, Elvis,

Northern communities welcome tourists as province opens to in-B.C. travellers

Officials have asked British Columbians to be careful as they travel this summer

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

Friends, family remember victim of Langley possible triple-homicide fire at memorial

Memorial held for one the of three found dead at a house fire in Langley Meadows last month

Most Read